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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

The conjugal vow and a friend indeed

Update : 30 Apr 2013, 02:20 PM

How often have we heard the bride and the groom taking vows to stay together in life and death?

In reality, not all couples would die to keep that vow. But the Savar tragedy has brought out one such husband who would rather die than see his wife buried.

Yousuf, a chef by profession, has been volunteering as a rescuer at the site of the Rana Plaza collapse since the day of the incident.

His wife Hasna Begum and brother-in-law Saiful have been trapped under the debris since the collapse on Wednesday.

The tragedy has also brought out many “friends indeed." One such individual is Salam, a friend of Yousuf, who has vowed to stay with his friend even if he dies trying to rescue his wife.

The rumour had been hanging in the air since early Sunday morning that the army were going to begin to use heavy machinery to remove the debris from the site.

At around 4:30pm, an announcement was made asking every civilian and rescuer to leave the site of the collapse. The announcement triggered protest by the locals.

Yousuf and Salam were taking part in a procession, brought out by locals and the relatives of collapse victims, demanding capital punishment for Sohel Rana, owner of the ill-fated building, when they heard the announcement.

Yousuf had his own announcement to make: “I am not leaving my wife in that building. I talked to her with a hand mike. She is alive but trapped in a bathroom on the 2nd floor.”

Yousuf said he was at his workplace in the nearby Tongi area when he first received news of the disaster on Wednesday. He rushed to the spot immediately and met Salam for the first time.

Since then the duo have been working tirelessly, offering voluntary services as rescuers.

“As soon as I reached the front of Rana Plaza, I climbed to the top floor in search of my wife. I saw four people trapped on the 6th floor. I helped get them out. But reaching the 2nd floor was not possible on the first day,” Yousuf said.

“On that night, I went back to my house to bathe and to eat. But I could hardly eat as my 4-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter were repeatedly asking about their mother. So, I came back here without letting the kids learn of the situation,” Yousuf continued.

Yusuf has not gone back home since. He joined a local rescue team. Suddenly on Sunday, he heard voices from inside. He collected a loudspeaker and asked how many people were there alive.

“The people inside shouted out their names and I heard my wife’s name too,” Yusuf’s tired but hopeful eyes seemed to radiate strong determination. “I promised to her that I wouldn’t leave her there.”

“I have been working alongside Yusuf since the day Rana Plaza collapsed. He is my friend now. I will be with him even if I have to die,” said Salam.

Salam also said he too talked to Hasna and informed army personnel that they had found four people alive on the 2nd floor.

“Last time, when I was there, I saw that the beam was being cut,” Salam added.

When this reporter last saw the desperate duo, the announcement was being made to clear the area of civilians and volunteers. Yousuf and Salam paid little heed to the announcement and made their way to the site.

They had no other way. It was all about the vows that Yousuf made to his wife and Salam made to his friend.  

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