Around 300 Bangladeshi workers who were brought back from Kuwait demonstrated at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport early Tuesday demanding money from the government to return to their homes.
The workers began protesting soon after landing. They demanded Tk 5,000 each to go back to their localities, which they claimed was promised to them.
The 300, who were either in prisons or detention camps for various reasons, including not having legal documents, landed at the airport around 1:00am yesterday after the Kuwait government sent them back, sources at the Dhaka airport said.
"The protests continued for three hours and at one stage went out of control," Group Captain AHM Touhid-ul Ahsan, director, HSIA, told The Daily Star.
At one stage, members of the Armed Police Battalion and Aviation Security (AVSEC) rushed to the spot, said an official of the HSIA.
"The Bangladesh embassy in Kuwait assured us that we all will be provided Tk5,000 after landing at the Dhaka Airport as most of us are returning with an empty pocket as we were either in detention camps or in jails in Kuwait," said Jahangir, a returnee.
"But now officials are telling us that the government's assistance was valid till continuation of general holiday up to May 30 due to countrywide shutdown," he said.
The returnees were later dispersed and sent home, without being given any money.
An official at the Expatriate Welfare Desk said the government stopped giving the special assistance after the general holiday ended from May 31.
According to an earlier government decision, the returnee expatriate workers will receive Tk 5,000 on arrival at the airport, while the expatriate welfare ministry created a fund to give them Taka 500,000 to 700,000 as loan so that the returnees can start their own business here.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen in early April said different Middle East countries especially the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq are likely to send back around 29,000 Bangladeshi workers in the next couple of weeks.
Many of these Bangladeshis are now in prisons or detention camps in the Middle Eastern countries.
They have, however, been granted general amnesty due to the coronavirus pandemic, foreign ministry sources said.
Several thousand Bangladeshi workers have already returned from different ME countries in the last two weeks, said the source without giving any details.
Bangladesh had requested different ME countries not to send back the Bangladeshi workers during Covid-19 pandemic. But they didn't pay heed to the request, Momen had earlier told The Daily Star.