Unidentified men whisked them away from their homes, say the families
The two jute mill workers in Khulna, who went missing after unidentified men picked them up, are now in police custody, some 20 hours after they were taken away from their homes.
The Doulatpur Police Station confirmed late on Monday that Nur Islam of Platinum Jubilee Jute Mills Ltd and Oliar Rahman of Eastern Jute Mills were in its custody.
OC Syed Mosharraf Hossain confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune just before Monday midnight. He, however, declined to provide any details.
The families of the Nur Islam and Oilar Rahman said they had failed to trace them after men in plainclothes took them away in the wee hours of Monday.
“Around 3.30am, some five to seven cars pulled up in front of our home near Khalishpur fire station. Some men in plainclothes came out and said that a fire had broken out,” said Nur’s son Md Jewel.
According to him, the men asked his father to come down and as soon as he stepped outside, they whisked Nur away. “They did not respond when we asked where he was being taken.”
Oliar Rahman was picked up from his home in a similar way, said his family.
“Altogether nine armed men came to our home near the entrance of the (Eastern Jute) mill before calling my father to come out and whisking him away,” Rahman’s son Naeem Sheikh said.
He too failed to get any response from the men, when he asked them where his father was being taken.
“The men had walkie-talkies. We went to the police and the Detective Branch, but they could not say anything,” said Sheikh, adding that the family would file a case over the incident.
He said that hours before his father was picked up nine jute mill workers gathered for a meeting at their home in the afternoon.
Earlier on Monday, the Khalishpur Police Station said they did not detain any jute mill workers.
“No jute mill workers have been brought in and we are yet to receive any complaint,” OC Sabbirul Alam Khan told Dhaka Tribune.
Workers of state-owned jute mills in Khulna have been protesting for quite some time on speculations of being laid off, which later turned out to be true.
On June 28, the government announced that it would send 25,000 workers into early retirement through the ‘golden handshake’ scheme.
Workers in Khulna started to demonstrate from the next day protesting the decision.
On June 30, the demonstrations were suspended upon assurances from officials that the mills would not be shut down.
However, on July 2, the government announced plans to shut down production at all state-owned jute mills after making full payments to workers.