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Dhaka Tribune

Police arrest 83 migrant workers back from Vietnam, Qatar fearing criminal activities

Just a few months ago police similarly arrested and jailed 219 migrants after they returned from Middle East

Update : 01 Sep 2020, 11:59 AM

Police have arrested 83 migrant workers after they completed 14 days in quarantine at Diabari Camp in Dhaka following their return from Vietnam and Qatar — 81 from Vietnam and two from Qatar.

The arrestees were taken out of the camp at around 11am on Tuesday and sent straight to court.

A Dhaka court on Tuesday sent the 83 arrested people to jail.

Metropolitan Magistrate Satyabrata Sikder passed the order after Sub-Inspector Md Anower Hossain of Turag police station produced them before the court seeking an order to keep them in jail until the investigation is completed. Satyabrata is the investigation officer of the case.

According to the prayer placed by police before the court, the arrested migrant workers were involved in various criminal activities in Vietnam and were imprisoned there. If they are released after their quarantine period ends, they will likely get involved in criminal activities in Bangladesh too. To ensure the safety of the general public, legal action should be taken against them. 

Moreover, police — from insider sources — found that they planned destructive activities including anti-government movement during their stay at the quarantine centre, read the application sent by police.

“In these circumstances, it is absolutely necessary to keep them in jail to ensure that these charges are properly investigated,” it added.

The arrests come just a few months after police jailed 219 migrants upon their return from Middle Eastern countries, without any specific charges against them.

Despite repeated attempts, Dhaka Tribune could not reach Turag police station or the deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Uttara division to confirm the reason behind the arrests.

However, sources said the migrant workers have been arrested under Section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrCP).

Meanwhile, Turag police station duty officer told Dhaka Tribune there were cases filed against the arrestees in Vietnam, but declined to elaborate further.

Earlier on August 18, a total of 106 migrant workers returned home from Vietnam on a special flight and were kept at Diabari Quarantine Camp for 14 days. 

They were interrogated by police in several stages.

In the last two days of the end of their quarantine period, police presence was increased at the camp, sources said. Police also listed the belongings of the returnees there. 

Following the arrest of 83, the rest 23 were released.

“Sub-Inspector Anwarul Islam [from Turag police station] told the arrestees that they will be taken to court, but did not explain the reason to them,” Brac Migration Program Chief Shariful Hasan told Dhaka Tribune.

Also Read- 219 expats land in jail for ‘tarnishing country’s image’

“These Bangladeshis went to Vietnam through recruiting agencies. They went to the high commission [Bangladesh High Commission in Vietnam] to protest, which is not against the rules,” he added.

“If there are no specific allegations against them, then this is very sad. Such incidents would bar migrants to go to embassies in future or lose courage to protest [even if they have been tortured],” said Shariful.

The migrant workers earlier said that they went to Vietnam with a release letter provided by the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training. 

Most of these migrant workers spent between Tk4 lakh and Tk5 lakh each for jobs in Vietnam.

Although the recruiting agency told them that they would be taken straight to work at a sofa factory, they found that they were deceived after arriving in the Southeast Asian country.

Later, some of them managed to get short-term jobs but went unemployed soon after.

The migrant workers then travelled from the port city Vũng Tàu to Hanoi to visit the Bangladesh High Commission there. 

Agitated, they took position in front of the high commission demanding they be sent back home by the Bangladesh government. Later, they were sent back home on a special flight.  

Earlier, police just brought allegations of "tarnishing the image of Bangladesh" against the expatriates as a cause for arresting 219 migrants. The law enforcement agency was reluctant to talk openly over the issue.

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