• Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019
  • Last Update : 12:10 pm

Rana Plaza victims still suffer six years after tragedy

  • Published at 01:33 am April 25th, 2019
Relatives of the Rana Plaza collapse victims
Relatives of the Rana Plaza collapse victims react during the sixth anniversary of the tragedy on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

A total of 1,134 people died in the tragedy and around 200 unidentified bodies were buried in Jurain graveyard

The sixth anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory disaster was observed in Savar and other parts of the country amid demands for swift justice for those who had lost their lives in the collapse, as well as the declaration of the Rana Plaza collapse day as a national day of mourning.

 Relatives of the Rana Plaza collapse victims—plus workers and activists of different worker foundations—have paid their tributes to the victims by placing floral wreaths on a temporary altar. They demanded justice for the “killing” and “sufficient compensation” for the victims.

The altar was erected at the Savar Bazar bus stand area, on the sixth anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse, on Wednesday.

 The protesters said many of the survivors were living in distress without jobs and proper medical treatments.

Apart from others, Bangladesh Garments and Industries Workers' Federation President, Sujon—and several other worker foundation leaders and activists—paid tributes and demanded compensation for the victims.

 Security has been beefed-up in front of the Rana Plaza site from Wednesday morning. No one has been allowed to stay in front of the temporary altar for long.

Earlier from Tuesday, ready-made garment(RMG) worker Mahmudul Hasan Hridoy, who suffered injuries in the horrific Rana Plaza collapse, started observing a hunger strike to press home his demands for proper compensation and rehabilitation of the survivors and families of the victims.

 Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, Hridoy said: “It has been six years since the collapse, yet no steps have been taken to compensate all the victims’ families and survivors. The perpetrators are reaping the benefits of a lengthy trial. The victim families are living in extreme difficulties.

“This tragedy has hugely affected many of our lives, with no support from the authorities    concerned – especially to support our children. That is why I am sitting here on a hunger strike until my 11-point demand is met.”

Rich tribute at Jurain Graveyard

People along with the members of the victim families also laid floral wreaths to the graves of the Rana Plaza victims buried in the Jurain graveyard without identification.

 Among the organizations present there were Garments Workers’ Front, Garments Workers-Employees Union Forum, Worker-Employee Forum, and Garments Workers Trade Union Centre.

 Horror still haunts

Aleya Begum, 50, came to the Jurain graveyard from Narayanganj to offer floral wreaths at her husband’s grave, Abdur Rashid – one of the victims of the Rana Plaza incident.

 She told the Dhaka Tribune that like every year on April 24, she visits the grave with no hope for justice.

 Since her husband’s death, she has been supporting her two sons Al Amin, 16, and Rabbi, 11, with whatever little she earns.

 “When my husband was alive I never faced any hardship. The lone earner is dead now, and no help or support will serve the purpose,” she sighed.

 Aleya claimed that she has not received any sort of help yet.

 “I do not know where to go for support and nobody has approached me as yet,” she added.

 Aleya once used to work in a garments factory like her husband. After her husband’s death, she quit her job and started working at a pulse mill.

 “I will never work in a garments factory again, the place haunts me,” said Aleya.

 A total of 1,134 people died in the Rana Plaza collapse and around 200 unidentified bodies were buried in the Jurain graveyard.

 Montu Ghosh, chairman of Garment Labour Trade Union Centre said: “The government has received several thousand dollars as donations, but none that was given to the victims’ families.”

 “The owner of Rana Plaza should soon be punished and the affected families should receive more financial support,” he added.

 Although building and fire safety measured have been ensured in many garment factories, the security of the workers’ lives are yet to be secured, said Razequzzaman Ratan, general secretary of Socialist Labour Front – SLF.

 “Steps they have taken to secure profits are not the same as the steps to protect a labourer’s life. We talk about stepping up on the highway of development where labour-force is the key impetus. But according to law, the death price is only 2 lakh,” said Razequzzaman Ratan.

In Tangail, the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), Tangail district unit, also organized a human chain at district court premises.

Additional reporting done by Nadim Hossain, Savar and Abdullah Al Numan, Tangail