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Over 3,500 accused in 2 cases over clash at Banshkhali power plant

  • Published at 06:21 am April 18th, 2021
Banshkhali Upazila Health Complex
People crowd outside Banshkhali Upazila Health Complex in Chittagong after a clash between police and workers of a power plant in the upazila on Saturday, April 17, 2021 Courtesy: Bangla Tribune

The clash between police and workers on Saturday left five people dead

As many as 3,562 people have been made accused in two cases filed over a deadly clash between police and workers of coal-based SS Power I Limited in Banshkhali upazila of Chittagong.

Of the lawsuits, Banshkhali police station Sub-Inspector Rashed filed a case accusing 2,500 unidentified people on charges of attacking law enforcers, said the police station's Officer-in-Charge (OC) Shafiul Kabir, reports The Daily Star.

Faruk Ahmed, chief coordinator of the power plant, a joint venture involving S Alam Group, lodged another case against 22 named and 1,040 unnamed people for setting vehicles on fire during the incident, he added.

No one was arrested in connection with the cases.

At least five people died and dozen others sustained critical injuries during the clash on Saturday.

Also Read - 5 die in police firing at Banshkhali coal plant

Police claimed that they had to open fire as the workers attacked them during a meeting with the local administration over unpaid wages and allowances.

Local sources at Banshkhali's Gondamara said workers -- fearing harassment and further violence -- were seen leaving the area since Saturday evening.

Meanwhile, local administration has formed a four-member probe committee while police formed a three-member committee over the incident.

The power plant authorities have assured of providing Tk3 lakh each to the families of the five deceased and Tk50,000 each to the injured victims.

This is not the first time protesters were killed over construction of the $2.4b ultra supercritical thermal power plant, partially funded by two Chinese companies, on the bank of Sandwip Channel of the Bay of Bengal at Gondamara.

Locals – mostly fishermen and workers of salt and fish farms – waged a massive protest in 2016 after the government signed a deal allowing construction of the 1,224MW plant on a land of 660 acres fearing that it would jeopardize the livelihood of 30,000 people. 

During the protest on April 4, at least four protesters were killed and 30 others injured after the police and supporters of the plant project opened fire on them during a rally at Gondamara.

Another person was killed and a dozen others were injured during a clash between two rival groups of villagers on February 2, 2017, following a meeting organized in favour of the power plant by the Navy, local administration and S Alam Group.

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