Police evict protesting Tuba workers

Police have evicted Tuba Group workers from the factory where they have been on a hunger-strike for the last ten days.

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 7 August 2014, 08:00 AM
Updated : 7 August 2014, 01:59 PM

Police have also detained labour activists, including Garments Sramik Oikya Forum President Moshrefa Mishu and Bangladesh Trade Union Centre's Assistant General Secretary Jolly Talukder, who were with the workers at the factory.

A few journalists covering the incident outside the factory have been injured when police charged batons on them.

Law enforcers entered the factory premises around 1.15 pm, Thursday. They lobbed tear gas canisters and charged batons on the workers, who were protesting demanding payment of their salaries and festival allowances due since July 28.

More than 200 panicking workers scurried down from the factory at the sixth floor of 'Hossain Market' in the capital's Badda area.

"Police lobbed teargas and charged batons on us to evict us," said Hosne Ara, an operator of Tuba-owned factory.

bnews24.com correspondent Sheikh Abdullah reported from the spot that police personnel, deployed outside the factory, have also fired blank shots during the eviction drive.

Police, however, refrained to comment on the eviction drive.

"We will talk to you on this later," Gulshan Zone police's Assistant Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Mahabub Hasan told bdnews24.com.

Labour activist Moshrefu Mishu claimed that the police charged batons and lobbed tear gas shells to evict them.

"We were on a peaceful movement and the police forced us to leave. We will continue the hunger strike at Shaheed Minar or at some other place," she told reporters after being forced to come outside.

Police, then detained some other women, including Bangladesh Trade Union Centre's Assistant General Secretary Jolly Talukder.

A female member of the police was injured when a scuffle broke out during the detention of women activists.

Moments later, police nabbed Mishu and whisked her away in a police van.

Several photojournalists, including the Daily New Age's Abdullah Apu and Daily Samakal's Rubel, were injured when police charged batons while they were taking pictures.

Police, meanwhile, claimed that the detention was to 'tackle the situation'.

"We are trying to handle the situation, it's tough to say at this juncture who all have been detained," ADC Hasan told bdnews24.com.

Sometime after the raid, Badda OC MA Jalil told reporters that some Tuba Group workers had entered a nearby garment factory in Lutfun Shopping Complex and tried to provoke them to agitate.

"But they refused to join them which led to a clash. But workers from five factories housed in that building and another one in nearby Hakim Tower came down to the streets, blocking traffic," he said.

The factories in Lutfun Shopping Complex were declared closed for the day by their management.

"While we were trying to remove the workers from the road, Tuba's workers came down and all of them tried to create anarchy. We dispersed them for the sake of public safety," the police officer claimed.

Asked about Mishu's allegations that he had threatened to shoot and rape the workers, MA Jalil said police did not enter the Tuba factory.

"We did not charge baton or lob teargas. The allegations of threats are false," he said.

Jolly Talukder and Mishu were taken to the detective police headquarters on Minto Road.

Laili Begum, mother-in-law of Tuba owner Delwar Hossain, who had been practically held hostage at the factory, was now in police custody, the officer said.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher