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Grameen Bank Staff Abducted and Physically Assaulted

Press Release

Sagirur Rashid Chowdhury, spokesperson of the Grameen Bank Employees Association, was attacked yesterday, May 6, 2011 by a group of about 10-12 men. At about 7.30pm, he was picked up in a microbus, which was accompanied by another microbus and 7 motorbikes, near the Grameen Bank office in Mirpur. Once inside the microbus, he was blindfolded and driven to a location which he later found was in the campus of Dhaka University.

Chowdhury was beaten severely and told that he would have to tell the assailants about his plan to launch a movement to keep Professor Muhammad Yunus involved with Grameen Bank and to promise not to remain involved in such movement. Under duress, he kept promising whatever was asked and begging for his life. He had to promise them to pay Tk. 3 Lakh.

The men left Chowdhury around 11:00 p.m. in front of the Teacher Student Centre in the Dhaka University campus, and asked him to keep his eyes closed for half an hour. He did that and then struggled back to Grameen Bank campus.

Chowdhury was immediately taken to a hospital, and then later moved to Orthopedic Hospital and treated for his injuries.

On the previous day, May 5, Chowdhury had spoken out about the deep discontent prevailing among employees of the Grameen Bank due to the Bangladesh Bank’s order of removal of Professor Yunus from the post of Managing Director of Grameen Bank, in a press conference organised by Grameen Bank Employee's Association.

Every person involved with Grameen Bank, from its borrowers to employees at all levels is part of its most valuable resource, and their safety is a paramount concern. This incident has created deep concerns for physical safety among Grameen Bank staff. This will hamper our work in running of the day to day work of the Bank. We draw attention of the law and order agencies to pay special attention to ensure the safety and security of Grameen Bank staff.

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