Provocation of foreign body, labour leaders found in probe
Law enforcement agencies have confirmed that a foreign organisation and leaders of a section of garment workers were involved in provoking the recent unrest in garment factories in the city's Mirpur area.
After investigation, an intelligence agency arrested Mehedi Hasan, Bangladesh representative of the Washington-based Workers Rights Consortium (WRC), at the Zia International Airport prior to his departure for Bangkok on January 24.
Mehedi was handed over to Pallabi Police Station in connection with a case filed with it following the workers' unrest.
Six more cases were filed with Kafrul PS.
The police produced Mehedi before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's (CMM) Court, Dhaka on January 25 and prayed for a 10-day remand for interrogation. The court granted a four-day remand.
At the end of the remand, the police again produced Mehedi before the CMM court yesterday and prayed for another seven-day remand for further interrogation. The court granted three days' remand.
Court sources said Mehedi reportedly confessed to interrogators that he used to collect information about workers' problems and send it by email to the WRC headquarters in Washington DC in the USA. He was also learnt to have disclosed that he incited garment workers to press for their demands and held several secret meetings with the leaders of a section of garment workers.
On January 12, hundreds of workers from several garment factories blocked Rokeya Sarani at Shewrapara for nine hours from 8:00am to press home various demands.
Earlier on January 4, the workers of SQ Garments demonstrated on the same road on similar demands. Later, they withdrew the demonstration as the owners accepted their demands.
On January 15, the workers of MBM Garments took to the street in Mirpur-13 in the morning, incensed by hearsay in and around the factory that a garment worker was beaten to death in Opex Group's factory during the unrest on January 14 that also left dozens of workers wounded. They also put barricades on the road with electric poles in front of the BRTA office, causing traffic disruption on Mirpur-Kachukhet road.
During the five-hour-long chase and counter-chase from 9:00am, the police charged batons and used teargas shells to disperse the belligerent protestors, leaving at least 50 workers injured.