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Dhaka Tribune

The 8-year-old boy who refuses to eat until his father is rescued

Update : 28 Apr 2013, 03:50 AM

An eight-year-old boy has gone off his food for 36 hours since his father was stuck under the debris of the collapsed building in Savar.

“I will not eat until my father is rescued; he has been without food under the rubble,” Shefayet said in a voice of stoic endurance.

The sight of heavy cranes and bulldozers in front of the Rana Plaza frightens him to death as he thinks these are the machine monsters brought here to confirm the death of his father.

“Will they pull the entire building down? What will happen to my father then? He is still alive, you know,” his voice trembled.     

Shefayat works in a restaurant at Savar Bazar. His father, a sewing machine operator, Abul Kashem Bhuiyan, worked on the seventh floor of Rana Plaza which is only a stone’s throw away from the restaurant.

The father and his son could meet whenever the time was favourable.

“Mother cooked for us and put it in a tiffin carrier in the morning. During the lunch break I met my father and had the food together,” said Shefayat in front of the collapsed building.

The boy was carrying a placard with his father’s picture on it, and the address and phone number of his mother. More than 72 hours have passed after the disaster that claimed 345 lives.

“I heard about the collapse while serving water to customers on Wednesday morning. I rushed in front of the building but no one could say where my father was.”

“On the first day my uncle was rescued from the seventh floor. He bent an iron rod and made a hole through which he came out. He also helped a woman come out,” he said.

His uncle, who is actually a next-door neighbour, told him that his father was with them when they were trapped. But as the power was out just before the building came crashing down he lost him.

But the woman rescued by his uncle said he was alive as she saw him going upstairs during the collapse.

He said that his mother Soheli Begum and two siblings went out of the house after the incident. He doesn’t know their whereabouts.

“I was out of home the first two nights looking for my father in some hospitals and morgues. Next night I went back home but nobody was there. Perhaps they were also out looking for father.”

“My mother came back home at the dead of night when I was asleep. She went out again before the day broke.”

This correspondent offered the boy food but he refused.

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