"Ghost related protests" close Bangladesh factory

Featured South East Asia - June 20th, 2013

Owners of a garment factory in Bangladesh were forced to offer prayers after workers ground operations to a halt and demanded officials to take action to drive what they say was a ghost haunting the plant.

Some 3,500 employees at the factory in Gazipur, north of Dhaka, refused to work Tuesday after claiming a ghost had attacked them in the ladies’ washroom.

“The agitatied workers refused to join duty and vandalized the factory after the management did not take any steps to drive out the ghost,” Gazipur industrial police inspector Showkat Kabir told AFP.

The owners held special prayers at the factory and distributed food among the poor to drive out the spirit.

“The factory will reopen on Thursday after two days of shutdown due to the ghost-related protests,” Kabir said.

A medical expert said the apparent “ghost attack” was a sign of psychological distress in the wake of a series of deadly disasters in garment factories.

Mahmudur Rahman, director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, said the garment workers may be suffering “mass hysteria” after the traumatic building collapse of the Rana Plaza, where over 1,120 people died and rescue efforts include amputating workers to set them free from underneath concrete slabs.