Cultural activists give ultimatum to arrest owners of Tazreen, Smart
Cultural activists yesterday donned white burial shrouds, symbolising the seven garment workers who died in a recent factory fire, at a rally to protest the unsafe garment factories.
A 48-hour ultimatum has been given to the government to arrest the owners of Tazreen Fashions and Smart Export Garment -- the two garment factories where fire killed at least 119 workers in the last two months.
The owners of the garment factories should bear the responsibility of the deaths caused by factory fires in the last couple of months, said the leaders of garment workers' associations who spoke at the rally, also attended by leaders of several left political parties.
Should the owners still remain at large after January 31, the activists threatened to cordon the Directorate of Labour on February 3.
The programme, by the BGMEA Bhaban, was organised by several leftist parties and three garment workers' organisations -- Garment Sramik Oikko Forum, Garment Sramik Trade Union Kendra, and Bangladesh Textile Garment Workers Federation.
â€œTougher agitation programmes will be announced if the arrest of the owners of Tazreen Fashions and Smart Export Garment does not happen,â€ said Communist Party of Bangladesh President Mujahidul Islam Selim.
He alleged that the government is denying the victims' families by not conducting a neutral and fair investigation into the fire incidents at the two factories.
â€œThe government and the BGMEA [Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association] are actually saving the owners,â€ he added.
Meanwhile, Prof Anu Mohammad of Jahangirnagar University criticised the home minister's unwillingness to arrest the garment factory owners.
He said both the government and the garment factory owners are responsible for the tragedies at the garment factories
The garment industry will eventually collapse if such practice continues, he added. â€œThe government has taken no initiative to conduct regular inspections at garment factories.â€
Advocate Montu Ghosh, president of Garment Sramik Trade Union Kendra, Moshrefa Mishu of Garment Sramik Oikko Forum and several garment workers injured by the fires, also spoke at the programme.