The discovery of more than 300 bones and three skulls in the ruins of Rana Plaza over the last one month suggests that the actual death toll in the disaster might be higher than the official figure of 1,135.
There have been confusions over the death toll, as none could confirm how many people were inside the building when it collapsed on April 24 last year.
According to estimates by workers' rights groups, more than 200 families are yet to find the remains of their loved ones.
DNA samples were collected from 322 unrecognisable bodies, and 157 of them could be identified.
Rag pickers found the skeleton of garment worker Obaidul Huq with his identity card and mobile phone at the site on December 13 last year.
With the hope of finding more human remains, rights activists and workers conducted searches there and found more than 300 bones and three skulls till January 3.
Activists, workers and families of the missing victims feel that a fresh search operation will discover more human remains at the site.
Zaher Majhi, father of missing victim Rabeya Khatun, 18, went to Savar from Bhola about a month ago when he learnt about the discovery of human remains.
“I heard a skeleton of a worker has been found at Rana Plaza. So I am hopeful that my daughter's remains might also be discovered," said the 50-year-old man whose daughter worked as a helper at New Wave Bottoms on the 2nd Floor of Rana Plaza.
Activists and workers have complained that they didn't get any assistance from police in carrying out searches at the site. In fact, law enforcers have barred them from entering the site since January 3, they said.
Rights activist Kallol Mostafa, who was involved in the searches, said 28 bones and a skull were found in a 30-40 minute search on January 3. They had to stop the search, as police asked them to immediately leave the site fenced with tin sheets on the front side.
Savar Upazila Nirbahi Officer Mohammad Kamrul Hasan Molla said the site is now off limits to people for security reasons.
Mohammad Mosheddowla Reza, assistant superintendent of police at Savar Model Police Station, said they had so far received 36 bones and a skull from rights activists and former workers, who carried out searches.
When contacted, Labour and Employment Secretary Mikail Shipar said, “We are aware about the discovery [of bones] as it has been reported in the media. We will see what we can do.”
Maj Gen Chowdhury Hasan Sarwardy, chief of the rescue mission at Rana Plaza, dismissed the possibility of finding any human remains at the site.
He wondered how human bones could be found at the site that had been cleared around eight months back.