Sadness filled the air at Dhaka airport yesterday as families received the bodies of six men who died with three other compatriots in Saudi Arabia two weeks ago. Grieving parents and siblings were all around, expressing their distress.
“Why Allah took my son's life so early?" cried Hoby Mia, 65, father of Shah Alam, 28. "Why He left us broke? Who will look after us now?”
The young Alam was one of the six men whose bodies arrived at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport yesterday.
Nine Bangladeshi workers, seven from Comilla and one each from Noakhali and Madaripur, died in a factory fire in Riyadh, the Saudi Arabian capital, on May 12.
The bodies of the three others will be brought back after completion of the relevant procedure, said Dr Ziauddin, deputy secretary of the wage earners welfare board at the expatriates' welfare and overseas employment ministry.
The bodies of the six--Shah Alam, Mohammad Selim, Motiur Rahman, and Mohammad Jalal from Comilla and Khorshed Alam Akkas from Madaripur and Jakir Hossain from Noakhali--were handed over to their families with Tk 35,000 each for burial costs, he said.
Hoby Mia said his son had worked for eight years in Saudi Arabia. He had come home in January and married in March this year before he left for Saudi Arabia again.
Alam talked to his parents and newly married wife four or five hours before his death, he said. “I could not imagine my son would flee this way, leaving me in distress. He would ask me not to worry about him. He would send us money regularly.”
The distraught father had sent his son abroad with hope for solvency and happiness in the family. He said his wife had fallen sick after learning of their son's death.
The death of Selim took away the smile of just yet another family.
“Oh! My brother how will we bear the agony of your death? What will happen to your kids,” grieved Shah Paran, younger brother of Selim. Paran said his brother had left behind a 14-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son.
“My brother had dreamed of educating his children. He always used to tell his wife to take care of the kids. Now, who will say that?” he cried.
Selim had gone to Saudi Arabia seven years ago but he did not get the expected salary, so he left his first workplace. Last year, he joined a furniture factory, Paran said, adding that his brother had talked to his wife and children six or seven hours before his death.
Jahanara Begum, 50, came to receive the body of her husband Akkas. “I tried to prevent him from going to Saudi Arabia. But he told me that he had to go as we had some debts,” said the woman.