Nation this week
At least six demonstrating workers were killed and 11 others received bullet injuries during a clash between the police and workers at an under-construction coal-fired power plant of S Alam Group at Baraghona under Gandamara union of Banshkhali in Chattogram. The workers at the power plant called SS Power Plant were demonstrating at the plant from the morning over several demands, including reducing duty time by two hours during Ramadan and payment of dues, the police officer said.
Workers blamed police for opening fire on their peaceful protest for dues and reducing working hours during the month of fasting for the Muslims. The agitated workers set fire to several structures at S Alam coal-fired power plant, Banshkhali police station inspector Md Azizul Islam said. Several hundred workers of the coal-fired power plant of S Alam Group left the workstation with bags and baggage after the clash. The local workers blamed the Chinese officials and workers for the incident. In 2016, four villagers were shot dead by police when they staged a demonstration against the move to build a power plant on the same site.
Law enforcing agencies arrested a number of senior leaders of Hefazat-e-Islam, taking the number of leaders arrested so far to at least 14 after the violence and protests over Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh in March. The Rapid Action Battalion and the police's Detective Branch arrested Hefazat central assistant secretaries general Mawlana Khurshid Alam Kashemi and Ataullah Amin and Hefazat leader Mufti Sarafat Hossain, also Khelafat Majlish joint secretary general, in connection with the violence in March and the Shapla Chattar violence on May 5, 2013.
Probably the most high-profile arrestee, joint secretary general Mamunul Haque, also the secretary-general of Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish, was picked up from Jamia Rahmaniya Arabia Madrassah by a police team. Top Hefazat leaders on Monday night met Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan and requested him not to harass and arrest leaders of the Islamic organisation.
Bangladesh's nationwide vaccination campaign is set to suffer a major setback as Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla said "there is no clarity" on vaccine exports at least before June-July. "There is no clarity on exports and we also right now feel that we should not look at exports for two months during these cases. Maybe in June-July, we could start looking at small exports starting again. Right now, we are going to prioritise the needs of the nation [India] first," Adar Poonawalla told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
The development comes at a time when 75,77,889 jabs of Oxford-AstraZeneca -- being made in India as Covishield -- out of 1.2 crore shots in stock were administered in Bangladesh as of yesterday. Last week, health officials said with the remaining stock of vaccine jabs, they will be able to continue the vaccination campaign for the next 15 days. Bangladesh had earlier signed an agreement to purchase three crore doses of Covishield from Serum through its local agent Beximco Pharmaceuticals.
A Khulna court sent a journalist arrested under the Digital Security Act to jail. Abu Tayeb, Khulna correspondent of NTV and daily Loksamaj, was arrested from his home in the city's Mujgunni area on Tuesday night. He was held after Khulna City Corporation Mayor Talukder Abdul Khaleque filed a case under the DSA with Khulna Sadar Police Station, said Ashraful Alam, officer-in-charge of the police station.
Tayeb was produced before the court around 10:00am yesterday and the court sent him to jail, the OC added. The mayor accused Tayeb of mentioning him in a derogatory Facebook post, said the police officer, quoting the case statement. Akhter Jahan Ruku, lawyer for Tayeb, told The Daily Star that a metropolitan magistrate court sent him to jail. A hearing was set to be held Thursday.
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