Supporters of a ward-level ruling party leader in Barishal on Wednesday night blocked a highway, shut down bus and launch services for over three hours.
Their demand -- police have to accept a case against the chairperson of a shoe company in the city's BSCIC area.
They withdrew the blockade after a case was filed by the AL leader against Mizanur Rahman, chairman of Fortune Shoes Limited.
So why did the said leader -- Sohag Hawlader, the organising secretary of Awami League (Ward-1) -- do so?
According to locals and eyewitnesses, Mizanur stopped Sohag from harassing female workers of the company on Wednesday morning. Locals said Sohag has allegedly been involved in harassing workers and extortion for a long time.
Around 10:30am on the day, Sohag was caught by Mizanur while he was "bothering" some female workers of the factory, they said.
Mizanur told The Daily Star yesterday that he tried to stop Sohag. Later, factory officials and informed police and Rapid Action Battalion about the incident, he said.
Once the law enforcers arrived, they handed Sohag to them, claimed Mizan.
"Around 10 to 12 days back, Sohag was found doing the same," he said, adding that at least 50 female workers of the factory did not come to work for a long time out of fear as Sohag is an influential person.
Sohag, however, while talking to this newspaper, claimed that he went to the factory to ask for his payment, which remained unpaid after delivery of cement some days back. "But the factory workers led by its chairman beat me up and threatened to kill me…," he claimed.
After Wednesday morning's incident, supporters of Sohag shut down launch and bus services in the city from 8pm to 11pm in retaliation.
The sudden shutdown created sufferings for hundreds stuck at the launch ghat and Nathullabad bus stand. They withdrew the blockade after 11pm once a case was filed against Mizan for harassing Sohag, claimed locals.
Saidur Rahman Rintu, a launch owner, said some Sramik Lague leaders asked them not to ply vessels.
Contacted, Azizul Karim, officer-in-charge of Kawnia Police Station, said they did not receive any complaint against Sohag yet.
"A case has been filed against Mizan," he said, adding they are looking into it.
Meanwhile, OC Lokman Hossain (operation) of the police station said Mizan detained Sohag at his factory on Wednesday morning and informed police.
Lokman refused to elaborate as to why Sohag was detained.
Many also alleged that some female workers went to police but law enforcers did not accept any complaint. Police, however, refuted the allegation.
Meanwhile, small traders and workers of BSCIC said a tense situation has been prevailing in the area over infrastructure development works worth around Tk 54 crore.
The Barisal City Corporation has recently stopped dredging activities there after some industrialists were allegedly attacked by miscreants over extortion and tender manipulation.
Mayor Serniabat Sadiq Abdullah and BSCIC deputy general manager and Fortune Shoes Limited are engaged in conflict over this issue, according to sources.
Mentionable, Mizanur Rahman was the immediate past president of BSCIC Shilpa Malik Samity in Barishal.
Around three months ago, the Fortune Shoes authorities filed a case with Kawnia Police Station, alleging assault on several workers and locals.
After the case was filed, people who were made accused in the case, often beat and harassed factory workers, they alleged.
They also alleged that Sohag and his accomplices were behind such activities. Asked, Sohag denied the allegations.
Meanwhile, Mayor Serniabat in a programme at Barisal Circuit House yesterday said even though his party man was beaten by the Fortune Shoes authorities, police were not filing a case.
"After that, they blocked the river port and highway and then, police accepted the case," he said.