Commuters had a harrowing time on Friday as inter-district and intra-district bus services from two depots in Barisal were suspended over workers' union issues.
Two different bus owners' associations announced the suspension of bus services with effect from 10am on Friday, demanding the arrest of a union leader and his men.
According to the bus workers, two unions have been recently formed in Barisal. Since the formation, there have been several fights between members of the two groups.
On Thursday again, a clash broke out between the workers of a union led by Sultan Mahmud and Sahidul Islam Titu and the members of the group led by Parimal Chandra Das and Shahriar Babu in front of the ticket counter on the ground floor of the terminal building at 10.30am.
Several members of both the groups were injured in the clash. Immediately after that, bus services were suspended for four hours.
Later, the police filed a case against nine people, including Sultan Mahmud, in connection with the clash. The services resumed soon after the police assured action against the accused.
However, bus services were suspended again on all routes from Barisal Central Bus Terminal Nathullabad and Rupatali Terminal from this morning.
Kawsar Hossain Shipon, general secretary of the Rupatali Mini Bus Malik Samiti, said, "Sultan Mahmud and his men attacked our people on Thursday. Despite an ultimatum, police have not been able to arrest the accused, prompting us to suspend bus services on 17 routes from Rupatali."
Kishore Kumar Dey, joint general secretary of Barisal District Bus Owners Group, said bus services on 14 routes, including Dhaka, have been suspended. "The services will remain suspended until Sultan Mahmud and his men are arrested."
Meanwhile, agitated workers blocked the Dhaka-Barisal highway in front of the Nathullabad bus terminal.
Nurul Islam, officer-in-charge of Kotwali Model Police Station, said, "We are trying to resolve the issue as soon as possible by talking to the bus owners and the union leaders."