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Arson in Standard Gr factory Perpetrators won’t be spared: PM

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A Correspondent
Gazipur: Terming the arson attack on Standard Group factory buildings here a pre-planned one, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said the government would not spare those behind this heinous incident.
“We’ll take stern action, we won’t spare anyone…such incident is the attack on the liberty and the livelihoods of workers…the government is determined to bring the culprits to justice,” she said after inspecting the affected Standard Group factory.
The Prime Minister said the attack on the Standard Group factory buildings was a preplanned one. “Otherwise, it would have not been possible to set fire to such a huge area within a short time and burn theses factory buildings.”
Sheikh Hasina said these destructive activities are being carried out in recent times, aiming to shatter the country’s economy.
On November 29, some unruly workers of adjacent areas aided by outsiders stormed the factory buildings and set fire to those on the factory compound at Gazipur industrial belt.
Meanwhile, police, in their separate drives, have so far arrested 41 people in connection with the fire incident.
A seven-member committee, led by Gazipur Additional Superintendent of Police (North) Sanjib Kumar Roy, has been formed to investigate the arson attack. The committee will submit the probe report to court in next 10 days.
Standard Group, which started its garment business in 1984, employs about 50,000 workers in its 23 units. The factory complex that was destroyed by fire employed about 19,000 workers.
A number of international brands such as Sears, American Eagle, GAP, Uniqlo, Zara and Abercrombie & Fitch are the clients of Standard Group.
The Prime Minister requested the garment owners and the workers to get united to fight against such subversive activities in the future. “I’ll request you to help each other in this connection and if we all stand together against such acts no one will dare to commit it in the future,” she said.
Hasina also asked the owners and the workers to increase their vigilance in their respective garment factory areas.
She also asked people to provide information, if any, to law-enforcing agencies so that the government could catch the culprits. “This is the most heinous and dirtiest act and this is very much regretful, painful …I have no word to describe my sorry.”
Criticizing the opposition leader’s stance in favor of destruction, arson and vandalism, she said: “I requested her to come forward for dialogue shunning hartal and blockade, but she refused. She is now engaged in killing by arson attacks in association with the anti-liberation force,” she said.
Talking about the government initiative for the welfare of the garment workers, Hasina said in the world Bangladesh is the only country where the government increased the wages of the garment workers by 219 percent in just four years of time.
“With my own initiative I forced the garment owners to raise the minimum wage from Tk 1,600 to Tk 5,300. I can challenge no one in the world can show such wage hike,” she said.
The Prime Minister also referred to the destructive activities of a section of garment workers. “What’s the reason for such destruction? Who will get benefited with this?”
Hasina said that the government has widened the scope for all businessmen to do their business irrespective of their political affiliations.
BGMEA president Atiqul Islam, Standard Garments MD Eng Mosharraf Hossain and local MP AKM Mozammel also spoke at the occasion.
Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud and PM’s Adviser Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu were, among others, present.