Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on Saturday demanded judicial probe into the arson attack on a readymade garment (RMG) factory of Standard Group at Konabari in Gazipur industrial belt.
Addressing a press conference at BGMEA Bhaban, BGMEA leaders and the management of Standard Group accused the law enforcers of their failure in this connection.
The incident involved 200-250 outsiders who arrived at the factory gate in trucks, and the local people were instigated to take part in the attack by spreading rumours through the mike of the adjacent mosque, said Standard Group managing director Mosharraf Hossain.
“Who instigated the local mob by using the loudhailer of the mosque to spread the rumous of the killing of two workers? And then, who put barricades on the streets to block the fire service troops?” he questioned.
“Who spilled diesel or petrol over various spots on each and every floor from the 9th to the bottom inside the main building and ensured that the fire breaks out in the entire building in a short time? Who’re these trained persons?” he questioned further.
Mosharraf Hossain noted that he can find no reason for the workers of the factory to be involved in such act as there were no dues or deprivation of the workers.
Speaking on the occasion, BGMEA president Atikul Islam said the government must take immediate steps to ensure exemplary punishment of those involved in the arson attack.
“We want to see in fetters like we saw in the trial of the BDR (Bangladesh Rifles, now renamed Border Guards Bangladesh) mutiny,” he said.
Atikul also noted that ‘international and local’ quarters are on a conspiracy to destroy the RMG industry and the arson attack on the Standard Group factory might be part of that.
“There was another attempt to set fire to the Standard Group factory a few days earlier in November,” he noted.
“The main aim of the conspirators is to break the backbone of the country’s economy,” he said adding, “We urge all, including the government, political parties and the civil society to identify and take actions against those who are fiddling with this industry. If needed, enact a new law to punish the destroyers of the economy,” he said.
Asked whether the recent political contention has anything to do with the arson attack, Atik shied off, but the former BGMEA president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin sitting beside him at the press conference replied, “You’re trying to embarrass us by asking this type of question. We want justice.”
Miscreants on the night of November 28 set fire to the factory buildings of Standard Group in Gazipur following a rumour of deaths of two of their fellows in a clash with police.
Firefighters brought the flame under control 12 hours after the incident had taken place.