Factory authorities have agreed to meet their demand for an extended holiday
At least 20 apparel workers have been shot and injured in Tongi and Kaliakoir upazila of Gazipur after police fired rubber bullets to disperse them during demonstrations demanding extended Eid-ul-Fitr holidays.
In Tongi, on the outskirts of the capital city, at least five policemen were also injured during the clash there on Monday.
Thirteen workers, who were critically wounded in the police firing, were taken to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, while the rest received primary treatment at Tongi’s Shaheed Ahsan Ullah Master General Hospital and other local clinics.
The unrest emerged in the two areas after the readymade garment (RMG) workers gathered and blockaded the roads in front of their factories, halting traffic for nearly 30 minutes.
In Tongi, the workers of Creative Collection factory, a sister concern of Ha-Meem Group, took to the street around 10am, said the factory’s Assistant General Manager Mizanur Rahman.
“The workers’ protest is illogical as we’ve granted them a weeklong leave for the Eid. They still vandalized the factory demanding an extension of the holiday to 10 days, which led us to immediately shut operations and take control,” he said.
Injured worker Mizanur Rahman said one of his colleagues contacted the factory authorities demanding 10 days of leave.
“At one stage, he had an altercation with the factory officials. After he came out of the factory, some policemen waiting outside hit him with a stick, causing his head to bleed,” he said..
When other workers reacted to the incident, the law enforcers started baton-charging them too, alleged the worker, adding: “All of a sudden, they started shooting at us.”
Delwar Hossain, another injured worker of the same factory, said: “Some of our fellow workers were shot and then, rushed to Shaheed Ahsan Ullah Master General Hospital.”
Industrial police’s (zone-2) Additional SP Jalal Uddin Ahmed said five policemen, including a sub-inspector, were injured during the clash with the workers.
They were taken to Shaheed Ahsan Ullah Master General Hospital too. None of them was critically injured.
About half an hour after the workers blockaded the Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway, police went to the scene and tried to remove them. That led to a running battle, during which the workers started hurling brickbats at police, said Jalal.
“So, we finally resorted to lobbing teargas shells and firing rubber bullets to disperse them,” he added.
Industrial police’s Additional SP Shushant Sarkar also said that the workers left the scene after the factory authorities agreed to meet their demand for the extended holiday