• Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cops use rubber bullets, teargas to break Tuba workers' strike'

Workers vandalise 20 vehicles in protest; Star photojournalist among several injured in cop action

Star Online Report
Law enforcers use water cannon to disperse the agitating garment workers who gathered outside the Tuba Group factory at Badda in the capital on Thursday. Photo: Akram Hossen
Law enforcers use water cannon to disperse the agitating garment workers who gathered outside the Tuba Group factory at Badda in the capital on Thursday. Photo: Akram Hossen

Police this afternoon stormed into a factory of Tuba Group in Dhaka, fired rubber bullets and teargas canisters to disperse workers who were observing indefinite hunger strike demanding their three months' salary and bonuses in full.

At least 10 several workers and journalists including the photographers of The Daily Star and Prothom Alo sustained injuries during the incident.

Policemen charged batons on the agitating workers when they vandalised at least 20 vehicles on the road in front of the factory.

Moshrefa Mishu, president of the Garment Workers Unity Forum, and Joly Talukdar, a leader of Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), were detained when they went out of the factory in face of the police action.

The workers will continue their hunger strike at the Central Shaheed Minar, Mishu told reporters before she was forcibly picked up in a police van.

Police, however, released Mishu around 8:00pm. And the process of releasing Joly was underway, Abdul Jalil, officer-in-charge of Badda Police Station told The Daily Star at 5:45pm.  

Police also picked up Laili Begum, mother-in-law of Delwar Hossain, managing director of Tuba Group. Laili was confined by the workers inside the factory since the first day of the agitation.

Police also used water canon to disperse workers of nearby garment factories who went out of their units to gather in front of the Tuba factory to express solidarity with their striking colleagues.

The workers locked into chases and counter-chases with law enforcers creating a long tailback on the adjacent roads for nearly one and half an hour.

The action came hours after the law enforcers halted water supply to the factory building at Badda where the workers had been continuing the strike since July 28.

Tuba Group workers alleged that police have cut off water supply to the factory building at Badda in the capital where they are observing a hunger strike for the tenth consecutive day today demanding full payment of their arrears.

"Nobody is allowed to join us today, water lines have also been cut off by police," said a footnote, which was thrown to the ground by the workers from the seventh floor of the building.

Asked, Mahbub Hasan, additional deputy commissioner (ADC-Gulshan zone) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, avoided a direct reply saying, there has sufficient storage of food and drinking water inside the factory.

Though Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) are distributing two months’ salary to the workers at their office for the second day today, the garment workers have been continuing their hunger strike at Hussain Super Market, which houses the garment units of Tuba Group.

Meanwhile police have locked all the entrances of the building excepting the front gate since morning.

They are not allowing anybody to enter the building. But if anyone wants to come out of the building, they are being allowed.     

Female workers are seen standing behind the collapsible gate of a factory owned by the Tuba Group in Badda of the capital Wednesday. Police padlock the entrances of the factory so that the workers cannot go out of the factory. Photo: STAR
Female workers are seen standing behind the collapsible gate of a factory owned by the Tuba Group in Badda of the capital Wednesday. Police padlock the entrances of the factory so that the workers cannot go out of the factory. Photo: STAR

"Police have been asking us to leave the place breaking our fast-unto-death," Nahid, one of the protesters, told our correspondent over phone.

The law enforcers barricaded the area with ropes so that none including the journalists can go close to the building.

The Daily Star reporter covering the spot also found that police barred Fazlur Rahman, a physician of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Medical University who is providing treatment to the workers, from entering the factory.

"The workers do not need any medical help from outside right now as they have enough physicians with them for treatments," the ADC said.

Published: 12:26 pm Thursday, August 07, 2014

Last modified: 9:10 pm Thursday, August 07, 2014

TAGS: hunger strike Tuba Group water supply

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