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Banshkhali power plant killing

HC to hear plea over judicial enquiry today

Published : 25 Apr 2021 09:47 PM | Updated : 25 Apr 2021 10:48 PM

The High Court (HC) is set to hear a writ petition today (April 26) over judicial enquiry into the killing of workers at SS Power I Plant, a coal-based power plant of the S Alam Group, at Banshkhali in Chattogram.

The virtual HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Sardar Md Rashed Jahangir on Sunday set the date for today (April 26) after the petitioner’s lawyer Advocate Syeda Nasreen requested the court to hold hearing on the writ petition.

Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), a leading rights organisation, filed the writ with the High Court on April 21 seeking its directive on the authorities concerned to conduct a judicial enquiry into the brutal incident. Syeda Nasrin said that the HC will hear the petition on Monday (April 26).

ASK filed the writ with the High Court as a public interest litigation requesting the court to order the government to take appropriate legal action against the perpetrators who are involved in the killing and injuring the unarmed workers.

The writ also sought compensation of Tk 3 crore to the families of the deceased, who were killed in the incident, and of Tk 2 crore to the families of the injured workers.

In the writ petition, it also urged the HC to ask the officials concerned of the government to withdraw the cases filed against the workers, saying that officials’ prompt action is highly necessary for saving and protecting the workers’ rights to life, property, livelihood and security.

Earlier on April 18, Advocate Syeda Nasrin on behalf of the ASK sent a legal notice to the Law Secretary, Home Secretary, Industries Secretary, Commerce Secretary and Inspector General of Police (IGP) to take necessary initiatives over the killing incident. The ASK filed the writ petition to the High Court for not getting any response of the notice, said Syeda Nasreen.

Advocate Md Shahinuzzaman, a member of ASK, said that it is unexpected that five people were killed in deadly random police shootings on unarmed workers. So they are demanding judicial investigation into the incident.

Human Rights Forum Bangladesh and Human Rights Foundation, two other rights-based organisations, also demanded judicial investigation into, and legal action against those involved in the incident. They also demanded adequate compensation for the victims.

On April 17, five workers of the under-construction coal-fired power plant were shot dead and at least 21 others were injured during a clash between police and workers in Banshkhali upazila of Chattogram. The workers of the SS Power I Plant alleged that the law enforcers opened fire on their peaceful demonstration demanding arrears and pay hikes.

Two cases were filed against over 2,500 unnamed people in connection with the incident. The power plant’s coordinator Faruk Ahmed filed another case against 70 people mentioning 22 names alleging vandalism, arson and attack, said Shafiul Karim, officer-in-charge of Banshkhali Police Station.