The family of Kanchan Miah, a ready-made garments worker who was critically wounded by the police while protesting for an extension on Eid holidays, demonstrated for compensation at the Jatiya Press Club yesterday.
Kanchan Miah, worked at a factory owned by Ha-meem group. He was peppered with hundreds of rubber bullets by police on May 10 at Tongi, leaving him disabled for the near future.
This incident had happened when the workers of Ha-Meem Group’s Creative Collections Ltd and That’s It Garments Ltd were demonstrating near their factories in Gazipur, demanding that they get their due Eid holidays.
Workers’ rights leaders informed that because of the close range of the shots, Kanchan’s intestines were permanently damaged, and over a hundred centimetres of his intestine had to be dissected out. Kanchan is currently expelling excretion through a colostomy bag.
The exact number of bullets he was hit with could not be ascertained because they go into the hundreds, said Taslima Akhter, labour leader of Bangladesh Garments Sromik Samhati.
“I am not asking for alms. I am asking for compensation for what happened to my father,” said Mustakin, the 16-year-old son of Kanchan Miah. Mustakin is the eldest of five children.
Worker rights leaders of Bangladesh Garments Worker Trade Union Centre, Garments Sromik Oikyo Forum were present at the demonstration, among others.
They informed that Department of Inspection of Factories and Establishments (DIFE) gave Kanchan Miah a lump sum of Tk 50,000, but that would barely cover the immediate cost of treatment, let alone the cost of running a family in the future.
Kanchan Miah had seven dependents who survived off his salary as a senior operator. He had been working at the factory for 12 years.
It will be difficult for Kanchan Miah to rejoin work anytime soon, said the demonstrators, and so the compensation must take that into consideration, said the labour leaders.
They demanded that Kanchan Miah be recompensed according to the International Labour Organisation Employment Injury Benefits Convention, 1964.
In addition to Kanchan Miah, nine other workers were gravely injured when the police shot at the workers.
The Gazipur police had said the workers blocked a road and threw brick chips at police, prompting the use of firearms.