Regarding Kalpana’s arrest, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said, “If I remember correctly, Kalpana Akhtar was arrested once in Bangladesh in 2010.
“He is not alone, several other labor leaders were arrested along with him while protesting while on duty. Later, their case was dropped.”
Referring to the arrest of Kalpana Akhtar while protesting in the United States demanding financial compensation after the Rana Plaza collapse, Shahriar said, “When some buyers in western countries refused to pay financial compensation to those factories after the Rana Plaza collapse, Kalpana Akhtar and a couple of others went to the United States to protest. He was arrested while doing so.”
On March 15, 2015, British daily Guardian reported that 27 people, including Kalpana Akhtar, were arrested by the police while giving a memorandum to the chief executive of a company called ‘Children’s Place’ in New Jersey demanding financial compensation for the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse.
Kalpana Akhter traveled to the US with funding from the International Labor Rights Forum and United Students Against Sweatshops; Mahinur Begum, a laborer injured in the Rana Plaza collapse, was also with him.
According to the news of the Guardian, Kalpana Akhtar was released two hours after the arrest. At that time they were charged with ‘unlawful trespass’.
The 47-year-old labor leader received Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) Alison des Forges Award in 2016 for his contribution to the protection of human rights.
Kalpana participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) of the United States in 2007. In 2013, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Congress heard his speech on labor rights in Bangladesh.
Kalpana ‘didn’t tell anyone’ about the life threat
State Minister Shahriar Alam said that Kalpana Akhter never informed the government or the law enforcement agencies about the threat to her life, “As far as we have looked in the records of the Bangladesh police, in the records of the law enforcement agencies, or even in your open source…
“You have so many journalists, if you go to him and ask if he said this at all? If so, on what basis? I think it is the responsibility of journalist brothers and sisters to find it. But the threat he felt, he never told anyone in Bangladesh in the past. So, of course, how much of it is true, we want to know.”
Regarding Kalpana’s activities, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said, “Kalpana Akhtar is very successfully leading an NGO to ensure labor rights in Bangladesh.”