12 hurt in Khulna clash between cops, jute mills workers

At least 12 people, including three policemen, were injured in a clash between police and former jute mill workers on Khulna-Jashore highway in Khulna city on Monday morning.

Under the banner of Sammilito Nagorik Parishad, the workers blocked the highway in front of Eastern gate of Atara Industrial area around 11am to press home their 14-point demand including reopening of 25 state-run jute mills soon.

Police came to the spot after a few minutes and tried to remove them from the highway, triggering the clash. At one stage, police charged batons and fired teargas shells to disperse them from the road, leaving nine workers injured, said Kudrat-e-Khuda, convener of the parishad.

One of the injured workers was admitted to Khulna Medical College Hospital. At one stage, the demonstrators hurled brick chips at the law enforcers, leaving three of them injured.

However, law enforcers managed to disperse them from the highway and brought the situation under control, according to Khulna Metropolitan Police (KMP) Additional deputy commissioner (North) Sonali Sen. Besides, police arrested four workers from the spot.

The government decided to shut down the 25 state-run jute mills under Bangladesh Jute Mill Corporation (BJMC) by providing cent percent dues of some 25,000 workers of the mills.

Compensating the workers was stressed as a priority by the government while announcing the closure, with the country’s jute and textiles minister even claiming a Tk 5000-crore fund had been set aside expressly for this purpose.

The decision came at a meeting held with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair at her residence Ganobhaban on July 2. The mills closed with immediate effect.

source: UNB