“Necessary actions against the owners should be taken immediately," the NHRC chairman said after visiting burn victims at Dhaka Medical College Hospital around 1pm on Thursday.
"If it is needed, a criminal case should be filed against the owners as well because they have committed a serious crime.”
Kazi Reazul Hoque said every victim with burn injuries is in a very severe state - whether they are undergoing treatment in ICU or general wards.
"Nobody is out of danger yet. Everybody needs intensive care," he said.
Pointing to a 'perfect storm' of factors, the NHRC chief said normal attire was instrumental in the burn injuries they sustained, which may have been minimised had they been given protective gear during work.
“Our observation is that there were no safety measures taken in the gas lighter factory. Such as a specific uniform, masks and so on,” he said, adding that the factory owners, government organisations, fire service and Labour Ministry all have responsibilities in the matter.
The labour force at the factory worked a minimum of 14 hours each day and received Tk2,200 as a salary - in violation of the labour act well. There were also child workers engaged in the hazardous job.
Kazi Reazul Hoque said an NHRC team had already gone to Ashulia and will provide a complete report regarding the incident.
"The license of the owners should be cancelled immediately and actions should be taken against them," he added.