The regional wing of the Road Transport Workers Federation announced the strike on Monday and Tuesday at a press briefing on Sunday.
Didarul Alam, MP from Chattagram-4 seat (Sitakunda) denied the accusation, saying he was involved in an altercation but there had been no fight.
Federation Regional Committee President Mohammad Musa said that the leaders of the route no. 8 Human Hauler Owner Association and federation General Secretary Oli Ahmed were called to the residence of Didarul Alam in Kattali on Thursday.
“MP Didarul Alam asked worker leader Oli Ahmed and joint secretary of the owners association Khorshed Alam to hand over control of the association and the operation of route no. 8 to him in writing or else to pay him Tk 200,000 per month.”
“He beat Khorshed Alam mercilessly and abused him verbally when Khorshed said he could not do it without consulting the workers. A few young men present at the MP’s residence also beat Khorsed,” Musa said in his written statement.
The MP became agitated and beat Oli Ahmed when he tried to intervene, he wrote. The others present on the scene also beat Oli Ahmed and tore his clothes, he added.
The workers called the transport strike from 6:00 am on Monday to 6:00 am on Wednesday in the greater Chattogram region to protest the incident and demand justice, said Mohammed Musa.
He said the strike will include different routes in Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, Banderban, Rangamati and Khagrachhari district.
“We’ll hold a peaceful strike and there’ll be no picketing,” he said.
“We went to offer flowers to him that night but he threw it back at us and spoke rudely,” said Oli Ahmed. Then he began to beat Khorshed Alam. Then he beat me when I tried to prevent him from beating Khorshed and ordered his men to beat me.”
“We don’t want to cause inconvenience for anyone. It is not our profession to halt transportation, but we want a decent solution to the incident,” he said.
MP Didarul Alam, on the other hand, accused the owners and workers of extortion.
“The people have become hostages to the owners and workers of the human haulers operated on route no. 8 in Sitakunda. They collect tolls regularly from the drivers in that route,” he told bdnews24.com.
He claimed most of those owners and workers belong to the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami.
“They use that money for violence in different neighbourhoods. That day I asked them to reduce the fare and stop their extortion,” he said.
“No incident of beating took place,” claimed MP Didar, adding he had an altercation with them at one point.
Didarul Alam has been elected MP in the 11th national election under the Awami League ticket. The nephew of former Chattogram City Corporation Mayor M Manzoor Alam, Didar won the same seat in the 2014 polls.