Civil society seeks action over torture of protesting workers
PUL-I-KHUMRI (Pajhwok): The Civil Society Network (CSN) in northern Baghlan on Tuesday asked the government to address the problem of 600 fired mine workers and arrest individuals behind their torture.
CSN head Mohammad Usman Sherzai told reporters around 528 workers of Karkar and Dudkash mines were dismissed by the Afghan Coal Company, who has been granted an extraction contract.
He slammed the decision of the company as violation of the national unity government’s promise and international norms. The works protestingtheir dismissal were allegedly beaten and tortured by local police.
During their protest, the workers had warned they would not allow anyone to work on any coalmine in the province until the government addressed their problems.Mohammad Jan, one of the protestors, alleged the company had fired more than 580 workers.
Yar Mohammad, another protestor, said they would close the Afghan Coal company and block the main highway linking Pul-i-Khumri with Mazar-i-Sharif if their demands were not met in the next few days.
Governor Abdul Sattar Barez said the contract for Ghori Cement and Kakar Coalmine was signed with the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining. But according to reports, the company fired workers without consultations with the central government.
Mohammad Maroof Sarwari, head of the Afghan Coalmine Company, said the workers had been dismissed because work on the mine had been stopped due to insecurity.
He said Hezb-i-Islami commander Mirwaishad attacked the mine several times,causing the company and residents losses. “We have told the officials concerned about the problem but nobody paid attention to the issue.” he said.
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