The recent move to start demolition activities at the site of the Savar tragedy is a continuation of poor decision-making by the authorities.While the move is certainly not unexpected, it is definitely premature. The past few days have made it clear that the manual rescue operation, which is geared towards pulling survivors out alive, should be continued – every delay that we have seen so far in the use of heavy machinery has seen more survivors being pulled out from the rubble.
Once the machines go in, the chances to pull people out alive become significantly slimmer. Although the authorities have tried to make it clear that the use of machines is only the second phase in the rescue process, a mechanised rescue process lacks precision; as a result, it might increase risks to trapped survivors.
The question that looms in everyone's mind, including ours, is: "What's the hurry?" Is it really necessary to go in immediately, when there is still a high probability that some may still be alive and are waiting to be rescued?
Shouldn't the authorities regard all human life as sacred?
As the leaders of the nation, the government has a duty to each and every citizen, including those still trapped, and the families that are hoping to be reunited with their loved ones. At one point the government had mentioned that heavy machinery would not be brought in until it was absolutely sure that no one remains alive.
While it may be futile to hope that every family will be reunited with those they wait for, they should at least be given the hope that they can recover the bodies for proper burial – taking the chance away prematurely is cruel and insensitive. That the government is, in fact, reneging on a statement made earlier, makes the action even worse.
The protests already raised should be a clear indication of what the public wants and expects from the government.
When will it start to listen?