Khulna Metropolitan Police on Monday evening said that they detained two jute mill worker leaders in the afternoon for interrogation.
Families alleged that the announcement came 15 hours after the leaders were picked up from their home.
The leaders, Nurul Islam, 44, of Platinum Jubilee Jute Mills at Khalishpur and Oliar Rahman, 48, of Eastern Jute Mills at Khanjahan Ali, were involved in the ruling Awami League politics and active in movement of saving the jute sector, the families said.
KMP additional deputy commissioner (headquarters) and the metropolitan police’s spokesperson Kanai Lal Sardar told New Age in the evening that a team of KMP detained the duo on suspicion from BL College Road under Daulatpur police station at about 5:00pm on Monday.
Necessary legal steps against them would be taken after interrogation, he said.
The news of picking the two state-owned jute mill workers leaders came only three days after the government on July 2 formally announced closure of all the state-owned jute mills rendering about 50,000 workers jobless overnight.
The families said that they could not know their whereabouts until 8:30pm on Monday.
Nurul’s son Md Jewel told New Age that his father was picked up from their Khalishpur residence at about 3:30am on Monday.
‘They came in civil dress and asked us to come out saying that fire broke out at our house. As my father came out, they instantly grabbed him and went away taking him with them,’ he said.
‘There were one police car and four white microbuses that took him away. My father contested at least for twice in the workers’ union election,’ he said.
He said that his father had a programme scheduled for Tuesday in Jashore to save the jute sector.
He said that they went to Khalishpur and Khulna police stations, detective branch office of Khulna Metropolitan Police, Khulna district Jail and Rapid Action Battalion office, but found him nowhere until evening.
He said that they came to Khalishpur police station for lodging a general diary but police did not take it.
Oliar’s son Nayeem Sheikh said that his father was picked up by men in plainclothes from their Moshiali residence near EJM at about 2:30am on Monday.
‘Nine plainclothes men, having guns and walkie-talkies came and told us that they were people from administration. They came on foot and went away on foot taking my father,’ he said at about 8:00pm.
‘We went to the Khan Jahahn Ali police station who told us that DB police picked him up and we went to DB office where they told us that they did not pick him,’ he said.
‘As the mill was closed and workers lost their job, my father sat with five to six workers yesterday and discussed what they would have to do to run their families,’ he said.
Ganosamhati Andolan in a statement condemned picking up of the two labour leaders and announced demonstration in Dhaka for today for their immediate release.
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