Doomed to a life of misery | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, August 20, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, August 20, 2009

Doomed to a life of misery

Rashida Akter Ruma lives in a single room in Chankharpool with her two daughters whom she is unable to send to school any longer.
Badly injured during the August 21 grenade attack in 2004, this Awami League activist, is now dependent on the charity of a distant aunt who has given her shelter.
Rashida, a widow, has been stranded here for the last two years. Repeated treatments have failed to rid her body of the innumerable splinters left in different body parts. One of her ears still bleeds regularly.
"I am just counting my days. I can't even manage the studies of my two daughters-- Joya and Priya", Ruma said, shedding tears. She is dependent on well wishers for her young family's meagre meals.
Asma Zerin Jhumu, who is now an AL MP in the reserved quota, said Ruma was not officially being given anything from the party but her former colleagues were helping out whenever they could.
Still that is not enough to keep a family alive, she said.
Sheikh Hasina helped send Ruma to India four times for treatment between 2004 and 2005. At the time Awami League helped with monthly monetary assistance, also and she provided them an amount monthly. But after 1/11, the help stopped.
Many other victims of the August 21 grenade attack are doomed to a life of misery.
Jhumu herself was hurt in the attack. Doctors were able to remove only 10 splinters from her body. She lives with the pain and complication of splinters left inside her body.
Another victim Sufiya Begum's son Russel told The Daily Star that the party gave the family Tk 2 lakh after his mother died.
"I was consoled, I was given assurance that if the party comes to power, they would give me a job. I still haven't got it, " Russel says.
Iran Sultana Baby, wife of Mustak Ahmed Sentu who was killed in the attack, lives in Barisal and struggles with her life.
"We would just be happy if the culprits get punished. We want to know the names of the masterminds behind the cowardly attack,” Baby said.
Deceased Sentu of Muladi upazila was an assistant secretary of the relief and social welfare sub-committee of the central AL.
Jubo League leader Liton Munshi's mother Achhiya Begum lost her only son in the attack. The elderly woman still wails every time someone mentions her son's name. As August 21 approaches every year, she becomes inconsolable.
After Liton Munshi's death in the attack, his wife Mafia Khatun of Chanpatti village under Hossainpur union in Rajoir upazila eventually got remarried and moved away.
Liton's mother The Daily Star that no one came forward to help her poor family.
"I could not keep my granddaughter -- the only thing left to me after my son died -- because I am poor. Mafia took her away from me," she said crying silently.
A total of 23 people died in the grenade attack. Over 300 others were injured. Each victim's family has their own story of misery and pain.
MP Asma Zerin Jhumu thinks the government should take initiatives to help the victims of such a heinous attack. Many others agree with her.
(With inputs from our Barisal and Madaripur correspondents)

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