Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged apparel workers not to vandalise industrial units while they are demanding justice in the Savar building collapse that killed over 400 workers.
Workers have been going on a rampage to vent their anguish at a time of disaster when people should stand by each other instead, she told parliament in her speech winding up the 17th session yesterday.
She also expressed doubts about whether all involved in vandalizing were workers. “I am asking the home minister to check the video footage and identify people,” Hasina said, fearing destructive activities might force factory owners to keep their businesses shut.
“If the industries are closed, they (workers) must go back to their villages and die of hunger.”
She spoke highly about the unity shown in the rescue work after the Savar building collapse and about the way people of all walks of life risked their lives to pull trapped workers out of the rubble.
Over 2,440 people were rescued cutting concrete slabs manually, which she claimed is unprecedented anywhere in the world. She also confirmed that the government would rehabilitate injured people soon so that they could live a decent life.
The prime minister compared the Savar tragedy rescue work with past instances of rescue work in similar cases of building collapse.
She said the rescue operation in the Spectrum garments factory collapse in 2005, when BNP was in power, was abandoned without taking care of the lives of the trapped people. Many bodies were found in the rubble of the Rangs building when it was demolished in 2007.
Owners of the building and factories were arrested immediately after the Savar collapse, something that did not happen after similar disasters during the BNP and the interim government, she pointed out.
The prime minister also urged the opposition not to try and save the war criminals now facing trial.
“The High Court has given a historic verdict on the November 3 (jail killings). The verdict will be implemented,” said Hasina.
Deputy Speaker Col Shawkat Ali, who was chairing the sitting, prorogued the 17th session that started on April 21.