MAC: Mines and Communities

Bangladesh: Remembering the Phulbari killings

Published by MAC on 2011-09-06
Source: Daily Star

The international campaign to halt the opening of Bangladesh's first open pit coal mine is entering its seventh year.

Last week, residents of Phulbari commemorated the August 2006 killings of at least three young men - with scores of other people injured - when security forces tried to prevent thousands demonstrating against the eponymous UK-sponsored project. See: Phulbari Coalmine Killing: Thousands defy ban, stage protest

Meanwhile, contract workers at the country's only underground coal mine have commenced an "indefinite strike", demanding official recognition of their roles.

Phulbari tragedy victims remembered

The Daily Star (Bangladesh)

27 August 2011

Dinajpur - The people of Phulbari upazila [distrcit] served the Phulbari Day yesterday, in honour of the protestors who were killed during firing by law enforcers in 2006.

Commemorating the deceased, Phulbari people built an altar on the riverbank of Chhoto Jamuna and started laying flowers at the altar since the morning. They also organised a discussion and mourning procession.

At least three persons were killed and 70 others injured as police and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) opened fire on people protesting the Phulbari coalmine project on August 26, 2006. The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power, and Port organised the protest rally.

Speakers told a discussion at Nimtolamore yesterday that a deep conspiracy has been hatched in the country to sell the national resources for personal gains. People have to be alerted to protect the resources especially the coal, they said.

Prof Anu Muhammad, general secretary of the national committee, and Sheikh Muhammad Shahidullah, the president, spoke at the discussion presided over by the committee's local convener, Saiful Islam Jewel.

Shiekh Shahidullah along with Prof Anu also led a grand mourning procession from Dhaka More (intersection) to Phulbari upazila headquarters.

Black flags were hoisted at the top of a number of buildings of the upazila.

Speakers urge govt Implement deal

The Daily Star (Bangladesh)

27 August 2011

Speakers at a rally yesterday urged the government to fully implement the Phulbari contract, driving out Asia Energy to protect the country's mineral resources including coal.

They also demanded prohibition on open-pit coal mining and enactment of a law restricting export of mineral resources.

The rally was organised by the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power, and Port at the Central Shaheed Minar in the city, says a press release.

Earlier, the committee and different political parties and social organisations laid wreaths at the memorial in observance of the Phulbari Day yesterday.

On August 26, 2006, at least three persons were killed and 70 others injured as police and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) opened fire on people protesting the open-pit mining of Phulbari coal.

The political parties, most of them leftist, expressed solidarity with the demands of the national committee.

Prof MM Akash of Dhaka University, Bimal Biswas of Workers Party of Bangladesh, Ruhin Hossen Prince of Communist Party of Bangladesh, and Saiful Haque of Biplobi Workers Party, among others, spoke at the rally.

Barapukuria strike continues

The Daily Star (Bangladesh)

26 August 2011

Mining at Barapukuria Coal Mine Company Ltd (BCMCL) has remained suspended since August 23 as contractual miners and staff of the company started an indefinite strike demanding regularisation of their jobs.

The mining company employs nearly 1200 staff on contract basis, reports our Dinajpur correspondent.

The miners gathered in front of the gate of the BCMCL since morning and continued their protest confining the officials and staffs inside.

The strike is affecting the production seriously, said an official of the coal mine earlier.

On August 21, the leaders of miners' and workers' union announced the programme at a press conference at Dinajpur Press Club to realise their demand.

The union leaders said that they were forced to launch the strike as their several attempts to negotiate with the district administration and BCMCL authorities were in vain.

However, engineer Mohammad Quamruzzaman, managing director (MD) of the BCMCL, said they could resolve the problem through discussion.

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