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‘There’s no body, it’s all just bones’

  • Published at 11:14 pm August 4th, 2021
Narayanganj fire
The mother of a worker who died in the fire at a factory in Narayanganj last month breaks down in tears after being handed over the body of her loved one from the DMCH morgue on Wednesday, August 4, 2021 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

‘Had I known about her plans, I would’ve never let her go to that hellhole’

“There was no body, it was all just bones. I brought my daughter’s skeletal remains back home inside a box!”

These words came from a grieving father Hasanuzzaman Sarkar, who had lost his youngest daughter Nusrat Jahan Tuktukir, 22, to the July 8 fire at Hashem Foods Ltd factory in Rupganj upazila in Narayanganj.

Nusrat, the youngest among three siblings, wanted to support her father right after finishing her studies. 

So after receiving a diploma in food technology from the Rajshahi Mohila Polytechnic Institute, she took a job at Hashem Foods to gather experience four months prior to the fire incident.

Hasanuzzaman Sarkar said Nusrat was very close to him and that she used to tell him everything. 

“She used to tell me that she would take care of the family once she had finished school and relieve me of my duties,” said Hasanuzzaman while dwelling on the memories of his late daughter. 

He continued: “After I lost all my assets to river erosion, I came to Gaibandha and began supporting my family with a small job, which I later lost due to the pandemic. So, Nusrat did not want to wait at all after getting her results last year.

“As she was struggling to find a decent job, she accepted a position at Hashem Foods after discussing it with her older sister living in Narayanganj.” 

“Had I known about her plans, I would’ve never let her go to that hellhole.”

“On March 3, she left home for Narayanganj with her mother to meet her sister. She later joined work on March 7 and informed me.”

“We used to talk a lot over the phone even just a few days before the accident. She would talk about coming home for the Eid holidays. That was the last thing we talked about. No more will I hear my daughter call me father. Who will I share my troubles with now? Who will I get angry with now?”

“Before Eid, a man from the company came to my home with a cheque for Tk2 lakh, saying it was compensation for my daughter’s death. How can Tk2 lakh compensate for the irreparable loss a father suffers after losing his daughter,” Hasanuzzaman said ruefully.

On July 8, at least 49 workers -- trapped on the third floor with its only exit locked -- died when a massive fire engulfed the factory. Three others succumbed to injuries they sustained after jumping off the six-storey building. Over 50 others were injured in the incident that sent shock waves around the world.

Eight people, including the owner of Sajeeb Group and his sons, were arrested and remanded in a case filed over the fire incident.