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Transport workers’ clash in Sylhet, 50 injured

At least 50 people were reportedly injured in a clash between two groups of transport workers centering internal feud in Sylhet on Tuesday afternoon.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear shells to disperse the clashing workers.

According to police and sources, the clash ensued between general transport workers and the followers of Selim Ahmed Folik, president of Sylhet District Road Transport Workers Union.Taking a position in front of the Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation office at Babna point in South Shurma, transport workers were demonstrating against Selim Ahmed Folik as he allegedly embezzled Taka over two crores of workers’ welfare funds.

Workers alleged that ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr some labour leaders asked union president Selim to send food items to the transport workers as Eid gifts from the welfare fund. But Selim Ahmed Folik did not agree. Later, workers demanded an account of their welfare funds of about Taka two and a half crores. But union president Selim gave an account of only Taka 41 lakh.

Milad Ahmad Riyadh, organising secretary of “Mitali Sramik Union”—an organisation of Sylhet transport workers, said, “The workers’ welfare fund were around Tk 2.5 crore.” But Selim Ahmed Folik gave us an account of only Taka 41 lakh. He has embezzled the remaining Taka 2 crores. He will not be allowed to enter the office unless he pays the full amount of the workers’ “welfare fund”.

When agitated workers were demonstrating against Selim Ahmed for embezzling workers’ money, a group of workers loyal to Selim Ahmed came in the scene and at one stage two sides locked into a clash around 4:00 pm and the clash around the Bus terminal area.

Khairul Fazal, Officer in Charge of Dakshin Surma Police Station told media that police fired 10 rounds of blank shots to stop the clash. The RAB also fired 3 rounds of tear gas. About 50 people from both sides were injured in the clash.