Double blow for a mother
For Hazera Khatun, the news of the Rana Plaza collapse in Savar meant making urgent arrangements to go there, from her home in Kotchadpur village in Jhenidah. Hazera's daughter Maya Rani worked in the building. With no news of her daughter, Hazera endured the agonising wait at Adhar Chandra High School, which ended after twelve days, with the return of her daughter's body.
But Hazera had fears not only for her daughter, but also for her two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter Rouza, who lived with her mother in a slum.
“After Rani was abandoned by her husband six months ago, she fled to Dhaka with her daughter and joined the garment factory,” said Hazera. “She told me over the phone that she paid someone in the slum Tk 500 per month to look after Rouza while she worked,” Hazera said in tears.
The only clue Hazera had about the location of her daughter's accommodation was that it cost Rani Tk 7 to get to work by bus.
Having buried her daughter at her Roudrapur village, Hazera, an estranged housewife herself for ten years, worked for a few days in a restaurant kitchen and returned to Dhaka with her small savings to look for Rouza, the only link between her and her dead daughter.
Yesterday Hazera discovered that it cost Tk 7 to go by bus from Savar to Hemayetpur. She rushed there only to be overwhelmed by the huge crowd. Tears rolled down her eyes as she asked young garment workers walking out of factories if they knew where Maya Rani lived.
Hazera realised she was not making any headway in tracing her granddaughter. “A young man named Lalon told me to approach Rab and to ask them to retrieve the mobile call lists of my daughter so that we may find someone who knew her,” said Hazera, her eyes glittering in faint hope. “I have sought help from the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in Nabinagar to trace my Rouza and they have agreed to help,” she added.
Major Arif of Nabinagar Rab told The Daily Star they would look into Hazera's case.
The immeasurable consequences of the collapse of Rana Plaza could be felt at its ruins yesterday, where several hundred people, many relatives with photos of their loved ones, stood by the security fence of the building gazing at the open space where 1,115 people perished.