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Police raid houses of jute mill labourers PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Protests continue

Our Correspondent

The police raided the colonies of the mill workers at Khalishpur in Khulna looking for the daily-basis labourers who took part in the protests held on Saturday, the labourers alleged.

The daily-basis labourers of the six state-owned jute mills in the Khulna-Jessore region, meanwhile, continued with their indefinite work abstention for the second day on Sunday to push for their six-point demands.

The labourers also did not send their children to school in silent protest at their harassment by the mill authorities and the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation.

Md Yunus, a daily-basis labourer of the Platinum Jubilee Jute Mills, who lives in the workers' colony, said, 'It was around 1:00pm Saturday when some policemen knocked on the door and asked us to get out of the house'. He said the police were looking for daily-basis labourers. There were 15 to 20 policemen.

'They threatened us in harsh language not to join protests any more,' said Yunus's wife Julia Begum. 'I saved my husband by telling the policemen that he pulled rickshaws and got back home late into night.'

The labourers also alleged that the policemen raided the houses in the colonies of the workers of the Crescent Mills looking for daily-basis labourers. The Khalishpur police, however, denied carrying out any such raids on the mill colonies in the industrial belt.

The demands of the daily-basis labourers include payment of all their dues, regular weekly wages, overtime benefits, issuance of gate pass for temporary labourers and official recognition of them as temporary labourers. Abut 4,000 daily-basis labourers of Star Jute Mills, Crescent Jute Mills, Platinum Jubilee Jute Mills, Eastern Jute Mills, Jessore Jute Industries and the Carpeting Jute Mills have been holding protests from January 1 to push for the demands.

They joined their works on January 30 as the administration assured them of meeting their demands. But they started holding protests on February 15 as their demands were not met, said sources in the mills.

The labourers went out on demonstrations at the mills during February 15–17 and formed human chains at the mill gates on February 18.

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