Outraged citizens in a protest programme yesterday demanded justice for the unwarranted deaths of garment workers of Tazreen Fashion, who died in a devastating fire at the factory on November 24.
Citing the incident as murder, speakers addressed the inhumane and unsafe work conditions of the workers at the factory.
They demanded factory owners to be held accountable for defying labour laws and minimum safety standards, and also the state for failing to ensure and implement existing laws.
Government is trying to shirk their responsibilities by giving conspiracy theories, they added.
The programme was organised in front of the National Museum in the capital.
Moshrefa Mishu, labour activist and president of Garment Workers Unity Forum, said factory authorities should be penalised for their deliberate negligence.
“The owners must be arrested without delay,” she said.
“Investigation findings of similar incidents since the 1990s have not been published as of yet,” said Prof Anu Mohammad, eminent economist and member secretary of National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports.
The recent probe committee formed by the government will also prove to be ineffective, Prof Anu said.
“The human rights commission should have taken the initiative to conduct a fair investigation,” he added.
Professor Emeritus Serajul Islam Chowdhury, Jonayed Saki, coordinator of Gonotantrik Baam Morcha, Saiful Haq, president of Biplobi Workers Party, Professor Nasim Akhtar Hossain of Jahangirnagar University spoke among others.
Biplobi Workers Party, Karmojibi Nari, Garment Workers Trade Union Centre and Bangladesh Jatiya Sromik Jote organised protest rallies in the city while Bangladesh Garment Workers Unity Council and Bangladesh Jatiya Garments Sromik Kormochari League held a memorial service for those who died in the fire in Ashulia.
Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association organised a milad mahfil.