With an indefinite transport strike expanded to ten districts of Khulna protesting bus driver Jamir Hossain’s jail, the government until late on Sunday night could not take any action to help stop it.
However, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan defended the strike saying: “They [transport workers] may do so [enforce strike].”
Shajahan, also executive president of the pro-government Bangladesh Sarak Paribahan Sramik Federation, made the statement at a press conference in Dhaka earlier the same day.
“If anyone is aggrieved, he or she has the right to call a strike. Hence, the transport workers just followed the method,” he said.
Asked if the government would take any immediate action to resolve the crisis, he did not give a direct answer, but asked the transport workers not to violate laws during the strike.
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The regional committee of the transport workers’ platform first enforced the wildcat strike only in Chudanga on Wednesday, the same day when a Manikganj court sentenced bus driver Jamir to life in prison over the deaths of filmmaker Tareque Masud and cinematographer Mishuk Muiner and three others in a fatal road crash in 2011.
The strike, which already caused immense sufferings to commuters in Chuadanga, started adding to the woes of people from the nine other districts in the division.
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On the other hand, transport leaders Sunday declared that they would spread the strike across the country if Jamir was not freed.
Meanwhile, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader during a mobile court drive near the High Court admitted public sufferings due to the strike, and termed the strike unacceptable and urged the transport leaders to withdraw the programme.
He suggested that transport leaders move the High Court instead of protesting against a verdict since a strike would not bring a solution to their demand of releasing the convict.
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Bangladesh Road Transport Authority on Sunday held a meeting where they discussed the strike, but it failed to come up with any action in this regard.
Wednesday’s verdict was the highest punishment for any road accident in the country, which garnered much appreciation from experts and safe road campaigners since road mishaps claim hundreds of lives in Bangladesh annually.