Students injured in demonstration against record fuel price hike in Bangladesh

A day after the government raised the prices of diesel, kerosene and petrol by upto 51%, left-leaning student unions including the Progressive Student Alliance demonstrated against the unprecedented hike that will majorly impact the lower class

August 09, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Bangladesh fuel price hike
(Photo: Shahidul Alam/Twitter)

On Sunday, August 7, at least 20 activists affiliated with the Progressive Students Alliance were injured in a demonstration in the Shahbagh area of Dhaka. The students were protesting against the record fuel price hike announced by the government in Bangladesh. The injured students were taken to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital for treatment.

Massive protests had erupted a day after the government raised the prices of diesel, kerosene, petrol and octane. Protesters accused the government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of looting public property.  According to a statement by the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, the price of a litre of octane has been raised from Tk 89 to Tk 135, up by 51.7 %. Similarly, the cost of a litre of petrol has been increased from Tk 44 to Tk 130, or by 51.1 %. The prices of diesel and kerosene have been raised by around 42.5%.

As per reports, students were taking out a peaceful rally when the police tried to stop them using batons, injuring several protesters. “Police authorities had been threatening us ever since we started demonstrating against the fuel price hike,” general secretary of the Chhatra Federation, Saikot Arif, said.

The record fuel price hike will severely hit middle and lower income families in the country, according to experts. The hike will also hugely impact businesses and exports. Reports also indicate that the government is set to increase water, electricity and gas prices shortly. 

Talking about the implications of the fuel price hike, Badrul Imam, retired professor of Dhaka University’s geology department, told Prothom Alo that prices were increased in the middle of night unilaterally, without talking to the stakeholders. 

“Hundreds of thousands of farmers depend on diesel for irrigation. A rise in irrigation costs will be a big blow to agriculture and farmers. Price of fuel oil has never seen such a jump in the history of Bangladesh,” Imam argued.

People are suffering due to high inflation amidst a deepening financial crisis and a pandemic. The latest hike in fuel prices has come as a shock that will put an additional burden on millions of lower class households.

The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics recorded food inflation to be 8.19% in July and 7.5 % in June. Meanwhile, wage growth had declined to a seven-year low of 6.06% in the last fiscal year.