Mon, 10 May 2021

Dhaka [Bangladesh], April 17 (ANI): At least five people were shot dead on Saturday as police opened fire at workers of a Chinese-backed power plant in Banshkhali Upazila of Chittagong.

Many of the people also suffered injuries during the incident. Banshkhali Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Saiduzzaman Chowdhury confirmed the figures of fatalities, Dhaka Tribune reported citing Bangla Tribune.

The UNO said the workers of the power plant were staging demonstrations over wages and allowances.

The USD 2.4-billion power plant is a major source of foreign investment into Bangladesh. The coal-fired power plant located in the Gandamara area is owned by the S Alam Group.

In 2016, China's Shandong Electric Power Construction Corporation III signed a deal with S Alam Group, a Bangladeshi conglomerate responsible for building construction at the site.

A clash erupted and five people were killed, Chowdhury said. As local people were also engaged in the clash, identities of the deceased could not be known immediately whether they were workers or villagers, he added.

Azizul Islam, officer-in-charge of Banshkhali police station, said tensions have been prevailing since Friday over non-payment of workers' dues, reported UNB.

On Saturday morning, the leaders of the workers' union sat in a meeting with the local administration to settle the issue. Later, police fired bullets to disperse the workers.

In 2016, six people were killed in a clash with police in the same power plant. At that time too, police opened fire on the people protesting against the deal between Chinese and Bangladeshi firms.

Protesters feared that they would lose their land when the coal-fired plant, funded by a Chinese firm, is built. Activists also had raised concerns that the plant will pollute the local environment. (ANI)

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