Five persons were killed and 25 others injured when a violent clash broke out between police and workers of a coal-based under-construction power plant at Banshkhali in Chattogram on Saturday morning.
The clash happened when the angry workers started demonstrating over their due salaries and allowances at the plant at Baraghona in Gondamara union under the upazila in the morning.
S. Alam Group, one of the biggest industrial conglomerates of the country, is building the power plant at Gondamara area.
Banshkhali Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Saiduzzaman Chowdhury said, “I have learnt primarily that the workers at the plant started demonstrating over the outstanding salaries and allowances. Five persons were killed in a clash with police in sequel to the demonstration. At one stage, local villagers also took part in the clash.”
Inspector (Investigation) Azizul Islam of Banshkhali police station, said there was a strong disagreement between the management of the power plant and workers over the due salaries and allowances. Workers started demonstrating from the morning. When police intercepted, the workers allegedly launched an attack on police throwing brick-bats. Four policemen were injured in the attack. Just at that time, a violent clash broke out and four persons were killed in police firing.
The deceased were identified as Ahmed Reza, Rony Hossain, Shuvho and Md Rahat.
Additional police forces have been deployed around the power plant. A tense situation is now prevailing there.
A local source said 23 more were also injured in the clash, and most of them received bullet injuries. They were taken to hospital.
ASI Alauddin Talukder, working at the Chattogram Medical College Hospital (CMCH) police outpost, said, “Fourteen persons have been brought at the hospital so far. Bullets pierced through the bodies of most of the injured. Doctors pronounced an injured dead after his bullet-ridden body was brought at the hospital. His name was Raihan, son of Abdul Matin, of Adarsha village under Hatiya upazila in Noakhali district.”
Banshkhali upazila health officer Dr Md Shafiur Rahman Mazumder said four bodies were kept at Banskhali Health Complex.
Earlier, on April 4, 2016, six persons were killed in a clash between police and villagers over the same power plant.
The 1,320 megawatt coal-based power plant is being built under joint venture between S Alam Group and China Safeco Company at Baraghona in Gongamara on 600 acres of land spending Tk 20,000 crore.
Land acquisition for building the power plant was going on before the clash in April 2016. There was a strong resentment among the locals over the issue. Locals alleged that S Alam Group acquisitioned their precious agricultural land forcibly without making any arrangement for their rehabilitation.
They said the locals who are dependent on salt and shrimp cultivation for their livelihoods will turn unemployed once the power plant is constructed at Baraghona in Gongamara.