Police yesterday dispersed workers of a readymade garment factory in Chattogram, when they barricaded a road protesting a female worker's death by suicide, allegedly after being insulted by management.
Some policemen also physically assaulted Jewel Shil, staff photojournalist of Bangla daily Prothom Alo, and deleted photos he took of police beating up women workers.
Police charged on workers of Four H Apparels, when they were protesting on Chattogram-Hathazari road.
“I was taking pictures of police attack... Some policemen led by assistant sub-inspector Shariful of Bayezid Bostami Police Station snatched away my camera. They deleted the pictures,” said Jewel.
Officials of the factory “insulted” Hajera Akter, 20, alleging that she stole an attire from the factory on Monday, said Jahangir Alam, general secretary of United Federation of Garment Workers, Chattogram, adding that she died by suicide in her house that night.
“Workers demanded explanation from management but the authorities did not give any. So agitating workers took to the street around 3:30pm protesting the incident, as they believe Hajera took her own life as she felt insulted by the officials.”
At one stage, police charged baton on the workers to disperse them around 4pm, he added.
Contacted, Md Iqbal, head of compliance at Four H Apparels, said they did not know why the worker died. “Hajera stole a product from the factory and one of her colleagues informed it to officials on Monday,” he said, adding, “When security staff asked her about it, she admitted to the theft and returned the product.”
“No disciplinary action was taken against her on that day; it was pending for the next day,” he said. “Hajera did not come to the factory the next day, and later we heard that she died by suicide that night.”
“Motivated by some outsiders, workers took to the streets,” he said, adding, 'We instantly informed the matter to the administration.”
Contacted, Ataur Rahman Khondakar, officer-in-charge of Bayezid Bostami Police Station, said police dispersed workers as they barricaded the road.
Asked about the assault on the photojournalist, he said, “It was just a misunderstanding. We have already talked to him.”