12:00 AM, December 03, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 03, 2012

Who will they turn to, now?

Parentless overnight in Tazreen fire, two kids in tears seek answer

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Tawfique Ali

Seema and her brother Zakaria. Photo: Anisur Rahman

In a tragic irony, the day before the deadly Tazreen blaze her father had called her from the capital and promised to stay for five days with her in Rangpur.
"Mom, how are you? Don't you worry; pay attention to your study. I will see you and stay five days with you after I draw salary of the month, and will pay your tutor," Shahin Mian told his daughter Seema over phone in the morning on November 23.
"It was my last conservation with father…," the voice of the 10-year-old girl chocked in unbearable grief. Shahin used to call her every Friday morning, his day off from work.
Tears rolled down her tender cheeks, as she was talking to The Daily Star at Nishchintapur Primary School ground adjacent to Tazreen Fashions Ltd yesterday.
She is now parentless. She lost them both in the November 24 blaze.
Seema lives at their maternal grandfather's house along with her five-year-old brother Zakaria at Mithapukur, Rangpur. They do not have paternal grandparents either.
"We cried all night on November 24, as we heard about the fire at Tazreen, where both our parents worked," said Seema.
The siblings came to Dhaka on November 30 with a distant uncle.
"My grandfather anxiously made calls to my father's mobile phone," she said. "It rang….rang and then stopped, it never rang again."
"We had a happy time with parents, as they visited us during Eid-ul-Fitr holidays," said Seema, a fourth grader at Latifpur Government Primary School of Mithapukur.
"He [father] bought us new clothes and books and left some money for us."
"Several months back, father wanted to see us and brought us to Dhaka and we stayed two months together with our parents," said Seema.
"Having lost both father and mother, I have lost the urge to eat or sleep."
First grader Zakaria, a madrasa student, sought a refuge in his elder sister's lap with a void look and appeared too young to understand the loss.
The siblings have been staying with their grandfather for the last two years, while their parents worked at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia.
Mushfiqur Rahman, the distant uncle who brought Seema and Zakaria to Dhaka, said relatives have searched for bodies of Seema's parents at every Dhaka clinics and medical centres but to no avail.
Both the victims are presumed burnt beyond recognition and to be among 53 buried as unidentified at the Jurain graveyard.
Claiming at least 111 lives, the Tazreen fire has been the worst garment factory fire in the country's history.

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