'Accept demands ,give up move for open-pit mining'
The leaders of National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports at a rally at Nimtola in Phulbari upazila under the district yesterday warned of tough programmes if their demands were not met within January 31 next year.
The demands include arrest of Gary Lye, chief executive of Asia Energy Corporation of Bangladesh, the government's assurance to avoid open pit mining in Phulbari and implementation of the six-point agreement signed in August 2006.
The local chapter of the committee organised the rally yesterday afternoon protesting Gary Lye's visit to Phulbari from November 24 to 26.
Addressing the rally as the key speaker, Anu Mohammad, member secretary of the central committee, highlighted the bad impact of open pit mining in Phulbari, if implemented.
The speakers urged the government to meet their demands or face blockade programme in northern districts from February 7 next year.
Protesters from different areas of Dinajpur district joined the rally with processions.
Earlier at noon, a local professional body led by Golam Murtoza Sarker Manik, mayor of Phulbari municipality, held a demonstration with similar demands.
They urged the Asia Energy authorities to withdraw the case filed on December 9 against anti-open pit mine activists including 10 local leaders of National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports.
If the demands are not met, there will be a situation similar to the one on August 26 in 2006, warned the demonstrators.
On that day, law enforcers shot dead at least three protesters when they were marching towards Asia Energy office in Phulbari.
To calm the situation, the then BNP government signed a six-point agreement with the stakeholders on August 30, but it is yet to be implemented.