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Ban on stone lifting: 1 killed, 30 injured as workers clash with police, RAB in Panchagarh

  • Published at 08:25 pm January 26th, 2020
PANCHAGARH-PIC-(4)
Photo shows some workers being taken to the hospital, injured in a clash between stone lifting workers and law enforcement in Panchagarh on Sunday, January 26, 2020 Dhaka Tribune

The ban was imposed by the district’s SP some five months ago

A man was killed and at least 30 others injured in a clash between quarry workers and law enforcement in Panchagarh on Sunday.

The clash took place between 10am and 2pm, when workers blockaded the Panchagarh-Banglabandha Highway in Bhajanpur of Tetulia, demanding the withdrawal of a ban on stone lifting from quarries in the upazila.

Worker Jumar Uddin, 55, was injured in the clash. He died undergoing treatment at Panchagarh Modern Sadar Hospital, said the hospital’s Resident Medical Officer Dr Sirajuddaula Paulin.

Eleven of the injured were members of police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). Four critically injured workers were transferred to Rangpur Medical College Hospital for better treatment, while the rest were admitted to different hospitals in the district.

Locals said illegal stone lifting from the quarries in Tetulia — using drills and dredgers — had been quite common for a long time, destroying the environment and biodiversity.

Panchagarh Superintendent of Police (SP) Md Yusuf Ali imposed the ban on stone lifting five months ago, after taking office.

On Sunday, stone traders and workers blockaded the Panchagarh-Banglabandha Highway demanding the ban’s withdrawal.

The clash ensued when law enforcement officials tried to block their demonstration and disperse them.

SP Yusuf said the situation came under control after four hours, during which time workers threw brickbats and police countered with teargas. The workers also vandalized a number of vehicles, including police vehicles.

The police officer also said that a syndicate of dredging machine owners and some people with vested interests had provoked the quarry workers to demonstrate.