At least 30 people were injured in an hour long clash between two groups of transport workers in Sylhet on Tuesday afternoon while tension prevailed in Lalmonirhat bus terminal over embezzlement of their welfare fund collected for years together.
Local residents said that a group of members of Sylhet Zila Sarak Paribahan Sramik Union, an organisation of the transport workers, started demonstrating carrying bamboo sticks in hand in front of their organisation office at Babna Point at Dakshin Surma in the city at about 1:00pm, protesting against alleged misappropriation of around Tk 2 crore of their welfare fund by its president Selim Ahmad Falik.
Agitating workers brought out a procession from Babna Point in the afternoon and started to march towards Central Bus Terminal at Dakshin Surma.
At one stage, supporters of union president Falik started pelting stones and brick chips on the processionals when they reached at Central Bus Terminal Area at about 4:00pm, triggering the clash that injured more than 30 workers of rival groups, locals said.
A bus of Mitali Paribahan and a building owned by Ena Bus Service were also vandalised during the hour long clash, they said.
Dakshin Surma police officer-in-charge Khayrul Fazal told New Age that they took the situation under control after firing 10 blank shot.
‘A team of Rapid Action Battalion also exploded 3 teargas shells to disperse the clashers,’ the police officer said, adding that additional police forces were deployed in the bus terminal area to avert further clash.
He said that the injured transport workers were sent to Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital after the clash.
Milad Ahmad Riad, a leader of the transport workers, told New Age that Falik had presented an account of only Tk 41 lakh of the welfare fund in a recent meeting though the amount was supposed to be around Tk 2.5 crore.
‘He embezzled more than Tk 2 crore from the welfare fund,’ Riad said.
Falik was not available to make any comment despite repeated efforts over his mobile phone in the evening.
Meanwhile, New Age correspondent in Lalmonirhat, quoting sadar police station officer-in-charge Mahfuz Alam, reported that additional police forces were deployed at the district bus terminal as tension had been prevailing in the area as two groups of bus workers took position there face to face in the evening.
District Sramik League convener Asadul Islam Dulu said that a group of workers began demonstration alleging that the leaders of the District Bus Owners’ Association had misappropriated the money they collected for workers’ welfare fund as they did not get any help from the fund in past two months when they remained jobless.
Tension created as another group of workers tried to resist them from staging demonstration.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country