Rickshaw pullers in Barishal staged a procession demanding relief and rations amid the “strict lockdown”, imposed to curb Covid-19 transmission.
More than 500 rickshaw pullers took part in the procession that started from Ashwini Kumar Hall at 11:30am the 17 april of Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal and its workers’ front,
The procession went through Sadar Road, Hospital Road, Nathullabad Amtala, and ended in front of the City Corporation. Demonstration rallies were held there.
“We earn our living by pulling rickshaw. There is no arrangement for our food amidst the lockdown,” said Bachchu, a rickshaw puller.
“Police harass us whenever we bring out our rickshaws. Shall we not eat then?” — asked another rickshaw puller Kuddus.
“During the previous lockdown, some help was received from the city corporation and the deputy commissioner, but this time nothing came from either side,” said Manik Hawlader, general secretary of Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal.
“There are 5,000-6,000 rickshaw workers in Barishal. No one is thinking about them. Many have moved to villages, and some are living in dire conditions in slums,” said Dulal Mollik, president of the Rickshaw-Van Drivers and Labour Union.
“We are not opposing the lockdown. We are demanding rations for the workers who have to work daily to make ends meet. We are demanding free Covid-19 tests for them as well. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure this,” said Manisha Chakraborty, member secretary of Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal’s Barishal Metropolitan Committee.