ETV journalist held for 'inciting' unrest among RMG workers
1,500 sued in seven cases, 30 arrested
A local journalist in Savar has been arrested on charge of inciting unrest among the garment workers in Ashulia, which led to the closure of 59 RMG units in the area, police said Saturday.
The arrestee, Nazmul Huda, is Savar correspondent of Ekushey Television and also local correspondent of Bangla daily Bangladesh Pratidin, police said.
"He is an accused of inciting unrest among the garment workers, holding secret meetings with seven labour leaders whom we've arrested, and trying to destabilise the government," said Dhaka district Police Superintendent SM Shafiur Rahman.
He said a case was filed with Ashulia Police Station under the ICT Act, accusing Huda of spreading false and provocative news through television, the media and several Facebook accounts.
Some 59 readymade garments factories in Ashulia industrial area have remained closed for four days from Wednesday over the incident of labour unrest, demanding wage hike.
As a tense situation is prevailing in the industrial hub, RAB, police and BGB personnel have been deployed there to avert any unwanted incident.
Law enforcers have banned rallies around the factories. Vehicle movement has been restricted on Baipail-Abdullahpur Road. No unexpected incident was reported from the area on Saturday.
Seven cases have been filed so far accusing 1,500 workers of fomenting the unrest. Of them, 30 people were arrested as of yesterday.
Though other factories opened on Saturday, police have been deployed to guard the 59 factories that were declared closed for an indefinite period on Tuesday.
RAB and armed police are patrolling the streets in the area.
Garment workers in Ashulia launched a strike two weeks ago to protest the firing of 121 colleagues and subsequently demanded minimum wage of Tk 16,000 per month. The minimum wage was set at Tk 5,300 in November 2013.
Huda was the first journalist to report on the shoddy structure of the Rana Plaza factory, just a day before it collapsed on April 24, 2013, which left more than 1,100 people killed in one of the world's worst industrial disasters.
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan and State Minister for Labour Mujibul Haque Chunnu sat with the workers' organizations recently, but failed to reach a settlement.
As the workers of 59 RMG factories walked out of their units in Ashulia on Tuesday, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at a press conference at its Karwan Bazar office on the day declared 55 garment units shut and threatened the workers with pay cut.
BGMEA President Siddiqur Rahman said the minimum wage was hiked three years ago and the law allows the entrepreneurs not to revise the pay in five years from the earlier revision.