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Banshkhali killing

HC order to pay Tk 0.5m to each family of victims

FE REPORT | May 05, 2021 00:00:00

The High Court on Tuesday ordered S Alam Group and two other respondents to pay Tk 0.5 million as initial compensation to each of the families of the workers who were killed during a clash with police at an under-construction power plant at Chattogram's Banshkhali upazila on April 17 this year.

The court also issued a ruling upon the respondents to explain as to why they should not be directed to pay Tk 30 million in compensation to each of the families of the workers who were killed, and Tk 20 million in compensation to the families of the injured workers.

In the ruling the High Court also wanted to know from the respondents to explain as to why a judicial inquiry committee should not be formed to conduct an inquiry into the killing of seven workers of the under-construction power plant.

It also issued ruling upon the respondents to explain as to why a criminal case should not be initiated against the real culprits of the incident and as to why they should not be directed to ensure security for the rest of the workers of the power plant and as to why the inaction of the respondents in taking appropriate action over the incident and ensuring the safety of the deceased workers should not be declared illegal.

Home secretary, law secretary, industries secretary, commerce secretary, inspector general of police and other respondents have been asked to comply with the ruling.

The court has also asked the two investigation committees headed by deputy commissioner and police superintendent of Chattogram to submit their reports in the court within 45 days.

The High Court bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Sardar Md Rashed Jahangir passed the order after holding hearing on two writ petitions filed in this regard.

Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), a leading rights organisation, filed one writ petition on April 22 and five other organisations including Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) filed another writ petition in last week of April.

Advocate ZI Khan Panna, Advocate Syeda Rizwana Hasan and Advocate Syeda Nasrin appeared at the court on behalf of the writ petitioner, while Advocate Md Arshadul Rouf represented the S Alam Group.

During the hearing of the petitions S Alam Group lawyer Arshadul told the court that his client had already paid Tk 0.3 million to each family of the deceased workers. Then the court said, "You have given Tk 0.3 million. Give more 0.2 million to each family."

Advocate Syeda Nasrin said that earlier, she on behalf of the organisation, had sent a notice demanding to take appropriate legal action over the killing of five workers of the power plant. As no reply was received, the organisation filed the writ petition.

A total of seven workers of an under-construction coal-fired power plant were killed and at least 21 others were injured after a clash with police in Banshkhali upazila of Chattogram on April 17.

The deceased are Raihan (20), Rony Hossain (22), Md Rahad (24), Shuvo (23), Mahmud Reza (19), Shimul Ahmed (23) and Raziur Rahman (22).

Workers of the SS Power I Plant, a joint venture involving S Alam Group, alleged that the law enforcers opened fire on their peaceful demonstration demanding arrears and pay hikes. They said they were supposed to get arrears of one to three months.

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