He had a choice: Starving to death
The end of the harvest season left him without a job for about a month. The little money and food that he had were all gone. Forty-year-old Tara Mia knew staying home would result in the starvation of his four-member family.
“I had only one option … go to Dhaka and find work,” he said lying in a bed at Rangpur Medical College Hospital. “I knew people were getting killed in arson attacks. But I had to take the risk for the sake of my kids,” he said.
He did not even have the money to buy the bus tickets. His elder son, who works in a garment factory in Dhaka, sent the money for the tickets. He along with his wife, daughter and the other son got on a bus for Dhaka from Secha Panchpir Bazar of Sundarganj in Gaibandha around 9:30pm Friday.
“Initially, we were all scared. But we felt relieved when we saw police and BGB [Border Guard Bangladesh] vehicles escorting a convoy of buses, including ours,” said Tara.
The escorts could not protect them. Alleged blockaders hurled a petrol bomb at their bus at Tulsighat area of Gaibandha around 10:45pm.
“All the windows were closed as it was cold outside. Most passengers were sleeping. Suddenly, there was a bang,” said Tara, adding that the bus caught fire immediately and people were trying to get out.
“I broke a window and pushed my daughter Tanjina out. Then I jumped out. My wife Sonavan and son Sujan also managed to get down even though they were critically injured,” he said.
“People were burning and screaming in pain."
As he was talking to journalists at RMCH around noon yesterday, he did not know the fate of his wife and 12-year-old son Sujan.
He asked The Daily Star correspondent about them.
He did not know that his son had died over four hours ago and that his wife would die too in four hours' time.
The injuries of Tara and his daughter were not as severe as that of Sujan's or his wife Sonavan. Doctors said the father and daughter were out of danger.
Supposedly men of Gobindaganj lawmaker Monjurul Islam took the bodies of his wife and son to Chandnipur of Sundarganj. Tara and his daughter may not get the chance to bury them.
“None of my family members are involved in politics. So, why should we be the victim of the politics,” Tara asked the correspondent.
“I was going to Dhaka for a job to provide for my family. Was it my fault?
"Please ask them [blockaders] to kill us by shooting us, not in such an inhuman way,” he added.