Transport workers throw burnt engine oil at drivers, passengers during strike
The incidents have sparked outrage among netizens
Transport workers have harassed drivers and passengers in various parts of Dhaka during the ongoing two-day transport strike.
They stopped vehicles and covered their faces with engine oil in Jatrabari, Gabtoli, Gulistan, and Mohakhali Bus terminal areas on Sunday.
Protesters dragged vehicles onto the road in Jatrabari’s Kajla area and slapped drivers for defying the strike.
Even ambulances were not spared.
Some CNG and motorbike drivers, passengers, and pedestrians said that transport workers stopped all types of vehicles, including private cars, auto-rickshaws, rickshaws and motorbikes and turned them away at the bus terminals mentioned above.
Passengers also became victims alongside their drivers, as protesters smeared their faces with engine oil.
The protest caused extreme distress to office going professionals and students alike.
The incidents have drawn criticism from netizens after a number of pictures went viral on social media.
When contacted, Ibrahim Dipu, office secretary of Dhaka District Road Transport Workers Union denied the involvement of transport workers.
“We strictly instructed the bus and mini-bus transport workers to avoid any such activity,” he said. “It might have done by pick-up van transport workers.”
The Dhaka Tribune also contacted the Bangladesh Bus Truck Owners’ Association Chairman, Faruk Talukder, who avoided commenting on the issue and said he was busy.
Osman Ali, general secretary of Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation said: “Our protest was carried out peacefully. Some vested quarters tried to create chaos and foil our program through these activities.
“However, we have identified several suspects belonging to the federation who were involved with the incident,” he said. “They have been temporarily suspended.”
He added that a probe committee has been formed to investigate the matter.
Bangladesh Road Transport Owners’ Association Secretary General, Khandakar Enayetullah, could not be reached by phone.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner (Wari zone) Iftekhayrul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune that they had heard the news, but no victim had officially complained to them.
He said policemen had already been deployed in different areas to avert untoward incidents.
Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, who is also the executive president of the Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation which enforced the strike, did not answer the phone.
The federation announced the two-day strike on Saturday, to press home their eight-point demand.