‘Police excesses’ lead to work stoppage by Chittagong port crane operators

OUR CORRESPONDENT | Friday, 16 April 2021

CHATTOGRAM: A section of workers at Chittagong Port last night stopped work for one hour protesting manhandling of a port staff by police allegedly for not following health rules.

Port sources said, the one-hour work-stoppage caused considerable loss to the country's prime seaport both in terms of money and time.

They said the incident took place at about 11:00 pm on Wednesday at Neemtola when an on-duty policeman stopped a crane operator who was on his way to join his duty at a jetty riding a motorbike.

The protesting port workers alleged that the policeman slapped the crane operator who stopped his bike obeying cop's signal at Neemtola near the port.

Police said the biker was not fully complying with the coronavirus-related health rules while on out the road.

However, the victim claimed that he fully followed the health guidelines and the cop unlawfully assaulted him and detained him along with the bike for about 15 minutes after stopping him.

Following intervention by CMP high-ups, the cop freed the man and returned his bike at around 11:15 pm.

Informed about the incident, crane operators of all jetties got furious and refrained from performing their duties chanting slogans demanding an end to police excesses in the name of enforcing lockdown and exemplary punishment of the cop for assaulting the port staff.

After getting assurances, the agitated port workers resumed their duties after midnight early Thursday.

Sources said the work-stoppage by crane operators halted loading and unloading from ships for over 1-hour causing huge losses for the port.

Secretary of Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) Omar Faruk said, "Following intervention by high officials of Chattogram Metropolitan Police (CMP), the crisis ended and the operators resumed work after one hour."

Apart from this incident, the operational activities of the port continued as usual on Wednesday and Thursday amid the second round of coronavirus-induced nationwide 7-day lockdown.

[email protected]