Police on Thursday foiled a planned press conference of Garment Sramik Odhikar Andolan, a platform of 12 labour rights organisations, and detained its leader Moshrefa Mishu from the capital’s Topkhana Road.
The DB police, however, released Mishu at about 6pm and dropped Mishu at her residence after interrogating over the ongoing workers’ protest.
The press conference was supposed to be held at Nirmal Sen auditorium on Topkhana Road at 11am to brief the media about the demands including minimum wage of Tk 16,000 for the garments workers.
Rafiqul Islam Pathik, coordinator of the platform, said that police obstructed him in front of the press conference venue at about 10:10am and seized all the materials including the banners from him.
He said that police also detained their leader Moshrefa Mishu, president of the Garments Workers Unity Forum, from Topkhana Road at about 10:55am when she was on her way to join the press conference and was taken to the office of detective branch of police.
Mishu told New Age that Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia through his two officers requested her to stop the ongoing movement.
She, however, said that she would continue extending her support to the movement of garments workers.
Leaders and activists of Garment Sramik Odhikar Andolan staged demonstration in front of National Press Club in the afternoon protesting at the detention of Mishu, arrest of other leaders, termination of workers and the cases filed against over 200 garments workers.
They demanded formation of a new wage board for the garments workers, unconditional release of the arrested workers and resumption of the closed factories.
Rafiqul Islam Pathik presiding over the protest rally urged the government to sit for talks with the garments workers’ leaders immediately and resolve the ongoing unrest by announcing a new wage board with provision of minimum wage of Tk 16,000 for the workers.
He announced holding of another protest rally in front of National Press Club at 11am today.
National Human Rights Commission chairman Kazi Reazul Haque in a statement expressed deep concern over the detention of Moshrefa Mishu and urged the government to uphold the rights of garments workers.
The Democratic Left Alliance, a combine of eight left leaning political parties, in a statement condemned the detention of Mishu and repression on the garments workers.
In the statement, the DLA said that the garments workers took to the streets demanding their wage hike as it was not possible for a worker to survive with the existing minimum wage of Tk 5,300.
Ganasanghati Andolan chief coordinator Zonayed Saki in separate statement condemned the detention of Mishu and arrest of seven local labour leaders of Ashulia.
He said that the apparel workers had been demonstrating since December 11, demanding their minimum wage of Tk 16,000 but the government and the owners were finding a conspiracy behind the movement instead of meeting the workers’ demand.
Garments Workers Unity Forum in a statement also condemned the detention of their leader Mishu.
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