DNA tests create scope for closure
Safura Khatun, mother of Rashida Khatun, a seamstress who was killed in the Rana Plaza tragedy last year, finally touched the grave of her beloved daughter yesterday after a whole one year.
She found the news of her child's grave in the capital's Jurain graveyard in February but could not come from her village home in Meherpur due to financial problems.
"After a long time, I am feeling the touch of my daughter again," Safura said, breaking into sobs at Jurain graveyard where 291 victims were buried unidentified initially.
Through DNA tests later, authorities identified 206 of them, while 85 still remain unidentified.
"Though we were informed about the DNA results six months back, we only received the relevant paper in February," said Mohammad Abu Bakar, brother of Rashida.
Bakar said his sister-in-law and he had looked for the body desperately for one and a half months since the collapse on April 24 last year but failed and returned home empty handed.
"While staying in Dhaka, I spent Tk 10,000 from my savings and sold out two cows to bear the expenses of accommodation," said Bakar, who had to sell two other cows to run his family.
"My father wanted to come along with us to see the grave at least for once but failed because the money we had did not afford the cost of three."
About financial help, Bakar, an agricultural labourer, said they got Tk 1 lakh three months ago from the upazila parishad but spent all the money on prayers and distributing food among the poor and orphans.
"This is her money...I want her to rest in eternal peace in the afterlife," said he said, quoting his mother.
Rozina Khatun, sister of finishing operator Poppy Banu, another Rana Plaza deceased, fell to her knees by her sister's grave.
"I lost my mother just two years back, and my sister asked me to stay in the village with my paralysed father and would send money for the family," she said.
Rozina said she came to the graveyard with her uncle for the fist time. "I'm now totally helpless as my sister was my only support after the death of my mother."
She said they not only lost their sister but their brother-in-law in the disaster that claimed some 1,135 lives. "Though I have a 20-year-old brother, he could not work for hearing impairment."
Different organisations placed wreaths at the victim's graves in Jurain, held prayers and Qurankwani, and distributed food among the poor.