Case Against Prof Yunus: 34 eminent personalities voice worry
Thirty-four eminent citizens have expressed concern over the case filed against Nobel Laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus and three others on charge of labour law violation.
In a statement issued yesterday, they said ulterior motives are driving the case against him in the Labour Court.
Referring to Dr Yunus's lawyers, the statement says despite the civil nature of the allegations, the government has filed a criminal case. The role of the government in disposing of this case at a rapid pace is noticeable, it reads.
In the past, Dr Yunus faced harassment from various government institutions under the pretext of audits, investigations, and interrogations, the statement says.
"He continues to experience hostility in different forms from various levels of the government. Considering all these factors, we believe the criminal case against him in the Labour Court is driven by ulterior motives. This deeply concerns us," it reads.
According to the statement, Professor Yunus has earned global respect for his efforts to uplift the conditions of the impoverished and marginalised people.
It says he has brought prestige to Bangladesh by achieving numerous medals and awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal.
Using various harassment tactics against him under the guise of legal and administrative proceedings is detrimental to his work and it conveys a negative message to the international community.
"We urge the government to stop all forms of harassment and biased hostilities against Dr Yunus," it reads.
On September 9, 2021, Labour Inspector (general) SM Arifuzzaman of the Inspection for Factories and Establishments Department filed a labour law violation case against four people, including Nobel Laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus, with the Third Labour Court of Dhaka.
According to the case documents, officials of the Inspection for Factories and Establishments Department on August 16, 2021, inspected the office of Grameen Telecom in the capital's Mirpur and found several violations of labour laws.
On June 6 this year, the court framed charges against the accused -- including Prof Yunus -- in the case. The case trial began on August 22.
The signatories include: Educationist Abul Kashem Fazlul Haque; former adviser to the caretaker government Hafiz Uddin Khan; human rights activist Hameeda Hossain; former cabinet secretary Ali Imam Majumder; economist Debapriya Bhattacharya; Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik editor Badiul Alam Majumdar; legal expert Dr Shahdeen Malik; human rights activist Sharmin Murshid; environmental lawyer Syeda Rizwana Hasan; Prof Ali Riaz; Prof Asif Nazrul; photographer Shahidul Alam; Prof CR Abrar; Prof Parveen Hasan; Prof Firdaus Azim; and human rights activist Shirin Haque.