Jewellers on indefinite strike19 May 2017 bdnews24.com
Gold jewellers in Bangladesh have called an indefinite strike, starting Thursday, alleging harassment by tax officials in the midst of a customs probe into Apan Jewellers.
They have demanded that the National Board of Revenue stop 'harassing' them with raids and urged the government to draft a business-friendly import policy.
Bangladesh Jewellers' Samity that boasts 700 members made the decision at a meeting in their Baitul Mukarram office, its General Secretary Dilip Kumar Agarwala told bdnews24.com on Thursday.
The strike will affect sales by 10,000 outlets countrywide. Around 2.8 million are involved with the stores. The decision came at a time when sales of jewellery are expected to peak ahead of the Eid, which is just six weeks away.
On Wednesday, Apan Jewellers owner Dildar Ahmed, who is currently facing interrogation by the customs detectives and whose son Safat Ahmed is currently behind bars, told reporters: "If my stores shut down, all others should follow suit."
In a statement, the jewellers' association did not mention the raid on Apan Jewellers but instead condemned a separate raid on Amin Jewellers and the arrest of the company's manager on Thursday.
The association has decided to place their demands by submitting a memorandum to the prime minister, a member of the association told bdnews24.com.
Safat stands accused of raping two university students. His father Dildar had been the general secretary to the jewellers' association for a previous term.
The Directorate of Customs Intelligence and Investigation or CIID started a probe into their gold business on May 6 and sealed off a Gulshan outlet of Apan Jewellers.
Dildar was summoned to the CIID for interrogation.
Jewellers termed it "harassment" and claimed all gold businesses including Apan Jewellers were running legally.
Moinul Khan, director general of CIID, said the customs detectives found evidence of irregularities, smuggling and money laundering against Dildar.
He further said the Apan Jewellers outlets failed to show legal documents during the raid to back up the stockpiling of gold.