The workers of Akij bidi factory in Hosenabad village under Doulatpur thana in Kushtia district were demanding a wage increment for a long time. On July 15, 2012 at around 12:00pm, when they again demanded a wage raise, the factory manager Mohammad Khorshed Alam, on behalf of the owner, announced that their wages will not be increased. As a result, an argument broke out between him and the workers. At that time, according to sources, Ansar members present on guard at the factory fired at the workers on the order of Khorshed Alam. Mohammad Rokibul Islam (25), son of late Bhadu Mathila and Mosammat Shurjohar Khatun of Boiragir Chor village, and Mintu Ali (28), son of Mohammad Kachhim Uddin and Bedena Khatun died on the spot after receiving shots triggered by the Ansar members. One Mohammad Nazrul Islam (38), son of Mohammad Hazrat Molla and Mosammat Anzera Khatun, was admitted at the Rajshahi Medical College Hospital on July 16, 2012 after he was wounded by gunshots during that incident. He died on July 17, 2012 at around 3:30am while being moved to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for better treatment.
During the fact finding mission Odhikar learned that a worker and a helper together can make 12,000 Bidis (handmade local cigarettes) daily. The owner pays Tk 21 for 1000 Bidis. Therefore, a worker receives Tk 252 after working for the whole day and from that money he gives Tk 66 to the helper. In an inflationary market, the Bidi workers and helpers are having a hard time running their households with the wage they earn. So, the workers were demanding an increase in wage by Tk 4 for every 1000 Bidis.
Statement of Odhikar
Odhikar is observing that no one among the accused Ansar members or the manager of Akij Bidi Factory, who allegedly ordered firing on the workers, was arrested. Although four months have passed since the incident, no step has been taken except giving assurance of compensation to the victim workers. Odhikar demands the arrest of Mohammad Khorshed Alam and accused Ansar members and a fair trial and punishment of the perpetrators.
fact-finding-other-killing factory workers-2012-eng (full text in English, PDF)
fact-finding-other-killing factory workers-2012-bang (full text in Bangla, PDF)
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