Hundreds of people from all walks of life yesterday gathered at the site of Rana Plaza to remember the victims of the tragedy on its sixth anniversary and demanded proper compensation for the survivors.
They also demanded exemplary punishment of Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana and others accused.
At least 1,100 people were killed and over 2,500 were injured on April 24, 2013 in the building collapse, considered one of the major industrial disasters in the country.
“I want justice for my son’s death. I want capital punishment for building owner Sohel Rana and all other accused,” said Maksuda Begum, mother of Al Masud, who lost his life during Rana Plaza collapse.
Shayla Begum, a survivor of Rana Plaza tragedy, worked on the fifth floor of the building and was severely wounded.
“I am still living in trauma. I’m unable to continue my treatment due to financial restraints,” said Shayla, who like many others went to the spot to honour the victims.
Shayla also said her husband died before Rana Plaza disaster and she started working there to educate her daughter, who sat for SSC examination this year.
“I hope she secures GPA 5 in the exam but still worried about her future as I don’t know how I will bear her educational expenditure further,” said a frustrated Shayla, seeking government assistance.
Different labour organisations, injured victims, and family members of the victims went to the Savar Rana Plaza site and paid homage. They placed wreaths at the base of the Rana Plaza Memorial that stands on the vacated land where the building once stood.
People started arriving at the spot beside Dhaka-Aricha highway around 8am.
They formed human chains by the highway, demanding proper compensation for the survivors and exemplary punishment of the Rana Plaza owner.
Local administration and law enforcers also paid homage at the base of the Rana Plaza Memorial.
Khairul Mamun Mintu, organising secretary of Garments Workers Trade Union Centre, said survivors should have been given access to free healthcare for life, as many of them have been living in distress without proper treatment.
“We want some changes in the worker compensation law,” he added.
Rafiqul Islam Sujon, president of Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers Federation, said government should ensure proper compensation for the victims.
TWO SURVIVORS FALL ILL DUE TO HUNGER STRIKE
Two survivors of Rana Plaza tragedy, who have been observing hunger strike for the third consecutive day with an 11-point demand, fell sick yesterday and were given primary treatment there.
Mahmudul Hasan Hridoy, who worked on the eighth floor of Rana Plaza, started the strike alone. Later, at least 10 other survivors joined Hridoy, expressing their solidarity.
They are observing the hunger strike in front of the now vacant site.
While talking to The Daily Star on Tuesday evening, Hridoy said “I will continue this strike as long as the demands are not met.”
The 11-point demands are: Tk 48 lakh compensation for each victim, rehabilitation, covering medical expenditure for life, announcing national mourning day for Rana Plaza victims, bearing education costs of children of the victims, highest punishment of the accused, seizing the wealth of all accused, providing treatment to rescuers, permanent mausoleum in remembrance of victims, and free treatment and employment for family members of the deceased, injured or those missing.
Led by its newly elected president Dr Rubana Huq, BGMEA representatives placed flower wreath at the graves of Rana Plaza victims in Jurain.
Among other organisations, Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies, Garments Workers’ Front, Garments Workers-Employees Union Forum, Worker-Employee Forum, and Garments Workers Trade Union Centre also placed wreaths at the graves of the victims.