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Two RMG workers killed in clashes with police

Bangladesh on 19 November 2013
Location : Bangladesh | Source : New Age Bd. Image Source: New Age Bd

Two apparel workers, including a woman, were killed and over 250 others injured as the police opened fire to disperse workers who were staging violent protests against the assault on a fellow at a factory of GMS Composite Knitting Industry at Kashimpur in Gazipur, some 30km from the capital.

The deceased were identified as Ruma,22,from Rangpur and Badsha Mia,26, from Char Magadia in Faridpur. 

Police denied responsibility for the shooting and killings.  

Both Ruma and Badsha were taken to Enam Medical College Hospital at Savar where the attending doctor declared them dead at 4:00pm.

Public relations officer of the hospital Jahidul Islam confirmed the death of Badsha Mia who was hit by a bullet in the head and died before reaching the hospital. Six other workers with bullet wounds were shifted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

Sub-inspector Saiful Islam, in-charge of Chakrabarti police outpost under Joydevpur police station, confirmed the death of Ruma but said that the death was caused flying pieces of broken glass. 
The bodies were sent to Gazipur Sadar Hospital where the autopsies would be done today, he said.

Joydevpur police officer-in-charge SM Quamruzzaman told New Age confirmed the deaths of Badsha and Ruma but could not say where the bodies were kept. 

Workers said the clashes broke out when around 10,000 workers were staging protests against the assault of a female worker by a production manager of the sewing section of the factory. The angry workers burned spent tyres on the road and vandalised different establishments turning the area into a virtual battlefield.

At one point, the police and Ansars opened fire, they claimed.

Inspector Nazrul Islam of Gazipur industrial police said some workers were injured as they were pressed against the walls while coming out of the factory in a hurry. 
The injured workers were taken to nearby Enam Medical College Hospital. 

Gazipur and nearby industrial belts have witnessed frequent protests by garment factory workers at Ashulia and Savar for the last 10 days over the minimum wage announced by the government for the workers of the sector that earns $21.5 billion from exports and employs around four million workers. 

RMG factory owners in Gazipur in the evening announced that their factories would remain closed today for ‘lack of security’.

Babul,28, Basudev,22, Bachchu,35, and Joni, 9, received bullet wounds when police fired rubber bullets and tear gas after hundreds of workers tried to block Dhaka-Tangail highway at places, including Narshinhapur, Jamgara and Shimultala in the morning demanding Tk 8,000 as minimum wage.

Babul was sent to Dhaka Medical College Hospital in a critical condition.

Police also swung into action after workers of Standard Group at Savar blocked Hemayetpur-Keraniganj highway to press for a 10-point demand.

About 80 workers were injured in the clashes while traffic remained suspended for over three hours on Dhaka-Tangail highway. 

Ashulia industrial police director Mostafizur Rahman said the police had dispersed the agitating workers after they blocked the highway and vandalised at least a dozen vehicles.

Around 150 garment factories were shut in the zone on Monday amid continued labour unrest for the last several days. At least 70 apparel factories in the area were closed on Sunday following clashes between workers and the law enforcers.

The workers continued with protests pressing for Tk 8,000 as minimum monthly wage, while apparel factory owners, after a meeting with prime minister Sheikh Hasina on November 13, accepted the award of the Minimum Wage Board fixing Tk 5,300 as the minimum wage for apparel workers.

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