Please select your preferences to subscribe.

They still come, shed tears

  • Ashik Hossain ​,
    Published: 2015-04-24 10:09:01 BdST

Sajeda Begum was weeping in an abandoned corner of the Savar bus stand, holding in her hand a photo of her daughter Khaleda Akter.

She sobbed inconsolably, unable to speak.

Sajeda came from Gopalganj. She has been looking for her daughter for two years. 

The place where she stood had a nine-storey building two years ago. Her daughter used to work in that building.

File photo shows a memorial at the site of Rana Plaza, which collapsed in 2013, killing over a thousand garment workers

Along with hundreds of others, Khaleda was buried under the debris when the building collapsed on Apr 24, 2013. She was neither found among the survivors nor the dead. 

Sajeda comes to the place every Apr 24.

Shedding tears in front of the debris is now her only solace.

The building, Rana Plaza, almost had the entire garments industry of Bangladesh collapse with it.

The death of over 1,000 workers and several thousand injured men and women suddenly brought Bangladesh to the centre of global attention.

Rescuers workers risked their lives to extricate those beneath the debris but were unable to find all the victims.

Khaleda from Gangarampur of Gopalganj’s Muksudpur is one of them.

Her relatives were unable to come to terms with her possible death but now appear resigned to the reality.

Around 3,500 workers were in the five factories located in the building.

Khaleda worked in the finishing department of Phantom Apparels on the third floor.

DNA tests were held to identify the victims.

Sajeda said she gave samples several times for the test but her daughter remains untraced.

As a result, she has not yet got any assistance as the member of a family of a Rana Plaza victim.

Meheran Begum, mother of another victim, Babu Mia, rushes to Savar from Tangail’s Nagarpur every time the remains of a body are found.

Meheran came to the place on Thursday, a day before the second anniversary of the accident.

She broke down on seeing a piece of jeans. “My Babu came to the factory wearing trousers like this that day,” she said.

She also failed to find the remains of her son despite DNA tests. “I am here to find solace.”

Locals said skulls and bones are still being found in the debris. Street children found some on Monday. Such findings are kept in front of a memorial raised in the place.

Madaripur’s Hajji Matabbar was seen looking for something there. He said his daughter Shahinur Begum was buried under the debris but her body was not found.

Mariam Begum came from Dhamrai in search of her sister Nila Akter.

Land grabbers raise their ugly head

Many supported the demand to use the place to rehabilitate the victims.

But the issue has not been resolved yet. Meanwhile, the plot appears to be grabbed slowly.

On Thursday, the district administration’s tin fence was not visible.

The signboard set up by the court had fallen down as well.

The police camp set up to oversee the site had been withdrawn.

Locals said land grabbers were erecting shops on the site. A rent-a-car centre has also been set up.

Zainal Abedin of a tea stall said one ‘Alim’ gave him the place for a monthly fee. He could not, however, give any details about Alim.

“No one prevented this,” he said.

Grocer Mohammad Sohel said he made a contract of Tk 1,500 monthly fees with one ‘Bakkar’ to run a business on the place 

He, too, was unable to give details about Bakkar.