Asia Energy chief's visit sparks protest in Phulbari

Dinajpur Office | Update:



Locals vandalised the office and vehicles of Asia Energy Bangladesh, protesting the visit of Gary Lye, country chief of Asia Energy Bangladesh, to Phulbari upazila in Dinajpur on Wednesday.

Sources of Asia Energy Bangladesh said, Gary Lye with his wife came on a visit in Phulbari upazila on Tuesday evening.

He had three separate meetings with Asia Energy officials on that night.

Later, Gary had another meeting with local political leaders including former upazila chairman Aminul Islam and labour leader Nuruzzaman on Wednesday morning.  

As the news spread of his arrival, the people under the banner of National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port, and Sammillita Peshajibi Sangathan staged demonstration and blocked the Dinajpur-Dhaka highway from 11:00am to 1:00pm. Phulbari municipality mayor Golam Mortuza Sarker Manik, also convener of the Sangathan, led the demonstration.

The protesters gave an hour of ultimatum to police and local administration asking Gary to leave Phulbari. 

After two hour of the ultimatum, demonstrators vandalised the local office and vehicles of Asia Energy Bangladesh.

Phulbari upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) Moniruzzaman and Phulbari police officer in-charge ABM Rezaul Islam said police barricade was also insufficient to control the protesting crowd.

Later, three vehicles carrying Gary Lye along with his wife and 10-12 other officials of Asia Energy Bangladesh were sent to Dinajpur in police protection.

In the afternoon, a meeting took place at Nimtala intersection of the town where the committee called a dawn to dusk blockade of highway and railway for Thursday protesting the arrival of Gary and the activities of Asia Energy Bangladesh in Phulbari upazila. 

Earlier in August 26, 2006, thousands of people of Phulbari led by leaders of the 'national committee' staged a violent demonstration centering the coalmine issue. Law enforcers opened fire, leaving three people killed.

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