A cleaner was beaten to death allegedly by his employers inside a food factory for “stealing a bicycle” in Shalgaria of Pabna yesterday afternoon.
Angered by this, sweepers of Pabna Sweeper Colony in the evening vandalised the factory, which also serves as the ancestral home of the factory owner.
Victim Tulshi Kumar Das, 27, a resident of the colony, was working as a cleaner in Niom Food Ltd.
According to sources in the colony, Tulshi was beaten inside the factory. In a critical condition, he was taken to Pabna Medical College Hospital around 4:00pm.
On-duty doctor Sajib at the hospital said, “The trauma from the beating caused cardiac arrest.” He died 45 minutes after he was brought in.
Hundreds of cleaners and sweepers then rushed to the factory around 6:30pm. They vandalised the factory-slash-home of Farhad Hossain and also attempted to torch it.
“Police were able to take the situation under their control,” said officer-in-charge of Pabna Police Station.
Tulshi's father Shaon Kumar claimed that his son was beaten up inside the factory. “My son went to the factory around 7:00am but he did not return home even though it was noon by then. My brother Chondon then went to the factory to look for him and found him critically injured,” Shaon said.
“I want justice for the killing of my son,” he said, adding that if Tulshi was guilty of theft, he should have been in police custody.
Niom Food Ltd owner Farhad Hossain is the brother of district Awami League leader Abdul Hannan and the uncle of former Bangladesh Chhatra League leader Rafikul Islam Rumon.
Police and locals said the angry cleaners and sweepers also vandalised Rumon's home.
Talking to The Daily Star, Hannan claimed that Tulshi had stolen a bicycle and that angry locals beat him up. He denied that Tulshi was beaten or tortured inside the factory.
Factory owner Farhad Hossain could not be reached for comments.
Protesting the killing of their community man, sweepers and cleaners announced work abstention for today.
“A community man was mercilessly beaten to death. We want a proper investigation,” said Subol Chandra Das, president of Horizon Oikya Parishad, Pabna.
He said if the criminals were not punished, they would go for tougher agitation programmes.