Agreement execution demanded as Phulbari day observed

Our Correspondent . Phulbari    | Published: 00:00, Aug 27,2019 | Updated: 00:04, Aug 27,2019


The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports brings out a procession at Phulbari in Dinajpur on Monday marking Phulbari day. — Star Mail photo

The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports member secretary Anu Muhammad Monday threatened fresh movement if the Phubari agreement signed between the committee and the government was not implemented fully.

He said that the government implemented part of the agreement and was under legal binding to implement it fully.

He was speaking at a rally organised at Nimtola intersection of Phulbari in observance of the 13th anniversary of Phulbari Tragedy Day in the morning.

Anu Muhammad, also an economist, said that the government had had enough time for implementing the agreement since the agreement was signed 13 years ago.

He said that Phulbari movement was an uprising through which people rejected politicians that had favoured foreign companies going against the interest of the people.

The commemorative rally was also attended by Ganosamhati Andolan convener Zonayed Saki and Jatiya Gano Front convener Tipu Biswas, among others.

The rally was held after placing wreaths at the monument erected in memory of those who laid down their lives to prevent open-pit coal mining by Asia Energy on August 26, 2006.

Three demonstrators — Amin, Salaken and Tarequl — were shot dead and hundreds of people were injured when Bangladesh Rifles (now Border Guard Bangladesh) personnel opened fire to disperse the protesters.

After four days of agitation, then Rajshahi city mayor Mizanur Rahman, on behalf of the BNP-led government, signed a 6-point agreement with the protesters led by the national committee.

The government agreed to cancel Asia Energy’s work permit in Bangladesh, scrap plans for open-pit mining, compensate the victims of BDR firing and withdraw complaints lodged against the Phulbari protesters.

Then leader of the opposition Sheikh Hasina, now prime minister, extending her support to the protesters, had vowed that she would implement the agreement if she went to power.

The injured, however, were yet to receive due compensations while the government did not scrap its plan for open-pit mining at the Barapukuria coal field, which was a  violation of the pact, alleged local leaders of the national committee.

The Revolutionary Workers Party also observed the day by placing wreaths at Central Shaheed Minar in the capital.

A press release sent by the party said that a discussion was also held on the Shaheed Minar premises.

Speakers at the discussion said that Asia Energy was still conspiring to realise their dream under a different name.

They vowed to resist any effort to start open-pit coal mining in Phulbari.

Communist Party of Bangladesh leaders Mohammad Shah Alam, Ruhin Hossain Prince, Socialist Party of Bangladesh leader Razequzzaman Ratan, and Revolutionary Workers Party general secretary Saiful Huq attended the programme at the Central Shaheed Minar.

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