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Dhaka Tribune

Jute mill workers’ leaders sent to jail in Khulna

Left political leaders demand their immediate release

Update : 08 Jul 2020, 07:56 PM

Two leaders of jute mill workers’ who were reportedly picked up from their homes by men in plainclothes in the early hours of Monday have been sent to jail following a court order in Khulna on Tuesday.

The two were arrested for allegedly vandalizing a police box and obstructing police from discharging their duties on April 4, 2019, when jute mill workers’ were protesting in Khulna demanding due wages.

The leaders, Nurul Islam, 44, of Platinum Jubilee Jute Mills at Khalishpur and Oliar Rahman, 48, of Eastern Jute Mills at Khanjahan Ali, were active in the recent movement in favour of keeping the state-owned jute mills in production and were arrested only four days after the government announced the closure of all the state-owned jute mills.

Police lodged a case with Daulatpur police station accusing 1,000 to 1,500 unidentified people following an attack on the police box at Natun Rasta Mor of Daulatpur on the day when state-owned jute mill workers’ protests demanding their dues were going on, officials at Daulatpur police station said.

Syed Mosharrof Hossain, officer-in-charge of Daulatpur police station said they arrested Nurul and Oliar at BL College Road on Monday for their suspected involvement in the incident and produced them before the court of metropolitan magistrate Md Shahidul Islam on Tuesday, seeking a seven-day remand to interrogate them in police custody to learn the whereabouts of other absconding accused and their motives.

The court rejected their petition and sent the two to jail, he said.

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 manner, 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.

He said that hours before his father was picked up nine jute mill workers gathered for a meeting at their home in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, several left organizations protested the arrest of the two leaders.

Socialist Party of Bangladesh (SPB) Khulna unit held a protest rally in the city on Tuesday protesting the arrest. 

SPB Khulna unit coordinator Jonardon Dutta Nantu addressed the rally. He demanded the immediate release of the workers’ leaders.

Khulna Sammilito  Nagorik Parishad held a meeting yesterday in the city and leaders of the Parishad protested the arrest. 

Advocate Kudrat-E-Khuda, convener of the organization said they urge the government not to torture the workers’ leaders.

The Ganasanghati Andolan on Tuesday demanded the release of the two workers' leaders of state-owned Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC).

The party brought out a procession and held a protest rally in front of the National Press Club at noon, Ganasanghati said in a press release.

Addressing the rally, Chief Coordinator of Ganasanghati Zonayed Saki said jute mills leaders, Nurul Islam of Platinum Jubilee Jute Mill and Waliar Rahman of Eastern Jute Mill were picked up on July 5 by some plainclothes men from their homes.

Razequzzaman Ratan, a central leader of SPB, Masud Khan, president of Jatio Gonotantrik Gonomoncha, and Biplab Bhattacharjee, president of Revolutionary Workers’ Movement protested the arrest of the leaders and demanded their immediate release.

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