Some 3,500 workers stopped work at the plant in Gazipur, north of Dhaka on Tuesday, and smashed furniture to demand action to remove the ghost, which some workers claimed had attacked them in the ladies’ washroom.
“The agitating workers refused to join duty and vandalised the factory after the management did not take any steps to drive out the ghost,” Gazipur industrial police inspector Showkat Kabir told AFP.
Kabir said the owners held special prayers — recitation of the Koran and hymns in praise of the Prophet Mohammed — at the factory and also distributed food among the poor to drive out the “ghost”.
A medical expert said the “ghost attack” could be a sign of psychological distress in the wake of a series of deadly disasters involving garment workers in the past six months.
Hundreds of workers have fallen sick at several garment plants, which the IEDCR said could be linked to a “mass psychogenic illness” or “mass hysteria” affecting mentally and physically vulnerable people from a similar group.
Oddly, the prayers may work. So will assuring workers that they are valued as human beings and are in a relatively safe environment. It just takes one person to be influential and spread a false rumor or a ghost tale and then many will be primed to experience it and attribute various happenings to “a ghost”.