In pain, yet they smile
Victims of recent arson attacks have heaved a sigh of relief at the financial assistance provided by the prime minister. They have said it will dispel their current financial worries.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, during her visit at the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital yesterday, promised each burn victim savings certificates worth Tk 10 lakh, said Dr Partha Shankar Paul, resident surgeon at the unit.
The victims, however, have stressed that nothing can make up for the pain and trauma those heinous attacks have inflicted on them.
Md Selim, a 35-year-old human haulier driver with 36 percent burns, told this correspondent yesterday that the money would mitigate his current financial hurdles as it would be impossible for him to resume work anytime soon.
The only earning member in his four-member family, Selim suffered burn injuries to his face, neck, hand and back. Doctors at the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital said his injuries were severe and it would take him quite a few months to fully recover.
"The pain that the arson has caused me and my family is so immense that no one can actually understand the fullest extent of this suffering," he said, adding that no amount of money could ease the pain and mental scars he suffered.
Sixty three victims were handed over the savings certificates yesterday, BSS reports.
Of them, 54 are now being treated at the DMCH burn unit and the rest at other hospitals in the capital, said Dr Paul.
126 burn victims have so far been treated at the unit. Eight of them have died while the rest have been released.
The prime minister sought separate lists of those who died and those released, according to hospital sources.
The victims will be able to yield interest income from savings certificates on a monthly basis and draw the full amount after 10 years, said Partha Pal who, among other hospital staffs, was with the PM during her visit.
According to an official of Directorate of National Savings, the monthly yield against Tk 10 lakh will amount to around Tk 10,000.
Other burn victims, while talking to this correspondent, have echoed Md Selim.
Arman Hossain, 45, a truck driver with 12 percent burns, told The Daily Star yesterday that he was in doubt whether he would recover so well as to resume work. His left hand and armpit were badly burnt in an arson attack on January 17 in the capital.
He said he was worried not so much about his injuries as about the future of his pregnant wife and two children.
"Now that I am going to get financial assistance from the government, my worries are gone," he said.
But he, much like Selim, said nothing could lessen the damage done to his physique and psyche.
Arman's mother-in-law Aklima Begum, who had been attending him at the hospital, said her daughter Shilpi was staying with her and could not visit her husband yet.
Both Selim and Arman demanded that effective measures be taken to immediately stop such crimes and bring the arsonists to trial.
"The politics of this country has caused our suffering. Our politicians must make sure that no one suffers from these heinous arson attacks ever again. I demand the arsonists be brought to justice immediately," Selim said.