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Dhaka Tribune

Mirror report on Reshma a fairy tale: Army

Update : 04 Jul 2013, 04:14 AM

Bangladesh Army has termed a report published in British tabloid Sunday Mirror on the rescue operation of Rana Plaza survivor Reshma “a fairy tale.”

The report was “part of a conspiracy against the army and the country,” Maj Gen Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy, the General Officer of Commanding (GOC) of Ninth Infantry Division, said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The tabloid published the report “Bangladesh clothes factory disaster miracle branded a HOAX by colleague of woman rescued” on its June 30 issue.

The army official warned the “vested quarters” which were trying to create “such fairy tales” involving the rescue of Reshma Akhter, and urged the government to take necessary steps.

“Do not play foul with the army…sometimes such foul play may turn back on to one who plays it,” he said. 

“The motive of publishing such ‘fairy tale’ involving Reshma was to attack the army, destroy its traditions and to ruin its chain of command,” said the army officer, who had headed the 19-day combined rescue operation at the Rana Plaza site in Savar.

Rescue workers pulled out Reshma from the debris of the eight-storey building that housed five garment factories on May 10 – 17 days after the collapse. As many as 1,131 people, mostly workers of the factories, were killed while hundreds were injured in the deadly collapse on April 24.

Maj Gen Hasan urged the government to take steps to bring legal charges against the Mirror reporter, Simon Wright, who filed the story.

He also said the government must ensure steps to find the locals who assisted Wright and take action against them.

The press conference was organised at the conference room of Press Institute Department.

Maj Gen Hasan urged the government to take steps to bring legal charges against the Mirror reporter Simon Wright who filed the “absolutely fake” story on Reshma’s rescue.

He also demanded that the government ensure steps to find the locals who assigned and assisted the foreign reporter to create the report and take action against them.

“It’s not that the foreign reporter came to Bangladesh without any instigation from someone in the country. Somebody must have instigated him to make this fake report. The government must identify them and bring them under the law,” he said.

The GOC said: “The report that was published in Sunday mirror is a translated copy of a Bengali daily, Amar Desh, which was already closed by the government for fake and inflammatory news. They did not mention any names or sources in the full report. Besides, some people who they have quoted, have already denied having spoken to them.”

Sunday Mirror published the report on its June 30 issue.

Earlier at a separate press conference at the National Press Club at 4:30pm, the Inter Services Public Relations presented Reshma’s coworker Enamul, who was quoted in the Mirror report, and officials of Enam Medical College and Hospital, where the Mirror report claimed she had been admitted before her rescue.

Enamul outright rejected the claims of the foreign media reports saying, “I did not give any interview to any media although I was contacted.”

“I was contacted through a local journalist for being interviewed by a foreign journalist. But I did not meet any of them,” he said.

Enamul said he had last met Reshma about five minutes before the collapse and had not seen her again until after her rescue. The Mirror report claims Reshma and Enamul came out minutes after the building collapsed.

Reshma’s landlord Mansur Ahmed and his wife Hajera Begum also said they had spoken to Reshma minutes before the disaster and they talked to her again on June 11.

Enam Medical College Hospital officials said Reshma had never been a patient of the hospital. Enam hospital had received most of the injured who were rescued during the 19-day operation. “There is no patient named Reshma enlisted in our registrar,” said Zahidur Rahman, a director of Enam Medical College Hospital.

All of them said they had appeared in the briefing on request of the ISPR to dispel any kind of misunderstanding.

The press conference was also attended by Mahbub Alal Shahin, chairman of Enamul’s union Dhopa Danga under Gobindaganj upazila in Gaibandha, and Habibur Rahman, headmaster of Dhopadanga Girls’ High School, to certify Enamul as an inhabitant of the locality.

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