Probe body blames owners, police
A high-powered probe committee formed to investigate the October unrest at Nippon Garments Industry Ltd in Tongi found both the garment factory owner and the law enforcement agencies at fault for the widespread violence that left three people dead.
One of the five members of the committee on Wednesday said that the factory owner did not follow the rules of giving prior notice for closing down the factory, which primarily agitated the workers.
But then the police that were supposed to control the law and order, asserted excessive force on the agitating workers that refueled their agitation, he told The Daily Star.
“The owner had sought additional police to control the unrest instead of following the rules. They should have informed the workers prior to closure of the factory. They were also supposed to assure the workers of paying all the dues in time,” said the member wishing not to be named.
Quoting the probe committee report, he said the committee members questioned the 'police excess' during the violence in the garment factory.
"Several hundred rounds of bullets were fired. Why were so many bullets fired? Why did the police not have a sufficient number of rubber bullets? These points have been included in the report," added the member.
He observed that police should have used more rubber bullets and opted for other means like baton charges and using teargas canister to disperse the angry mob to reduce the number of casualty.
The committee, formed at a meeting at the home ministry on November 1, is now set to submit its report today after missing two deadlines--first on November 15 and the second on December 14.
“The report is ready…hopefully we are going to submit it on Thursday,” said a deputy secretary of the home ministry who is also a member of the probe body.
A set of recommendations for government's consideration to check unrest in apparel industry has been made in the report, sources said.
Earlier on Sunday head of the committee and Labour Secretary Ataharul Islam said they had completed their investigation to submit report in a day or two.
The committee comprises representatives from the home ministry, Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters' Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters' Association (BKMEA) and workers.
During their probe, the committee members visited the scene for several times and took interviews of several hundred witnesses, including garment workers and members of the law enforcement agencies.