The accused refute the allegation, say the boys willingly jumped off the vessel
In a grave incident, the crew of a Chandpur-bound launch named “Imam Hasan-5” threw four children into the Meghna River for failing to pay the fare.
The boys sell water and collect plastic bottles and bags on passenger vessels plying from Dhaka’s Sadarghat to parts of the country.
Some 45 hours into the incident, Muktarpur River Police Inspector Md Lutfor Rahman filed a case against several unidentified staffers of the launch on Sunday night.
Two of the children — Mehedul Haasan and Sakib Hasan, both aged 13 — were rescued from the river, while two others Tariqul Islam, 10, and Siam, 13, were found at the Munshiganj launch terminal.
Confirming the development, Munshiganj Sadar police station’s Officer-in-Charge (OC) Rajib Khan said: “Even though the case was filed with our station, Muktarpur river police will investigate it.”
Sakib is the son of one Abul Qashem from Noakhali, Mehedul of Md Sharif from Gaibandha, Siam of Imam Hossain from Comilla and Tariqul is the son of Gias Uddin, who is also from Comilla.
Gazaria police station’s OC Md Rois Uddin said they rescued Sakib and Mehedul after spotting them afloat in the river — some two kilometres off the launch terminal around 12 noon on Saturday.
“After bringing them to the terminal, we found the rest [Tariqul and Siam] there,” he said.
Tariqul and Siam might have managed to make it to the terminal by another vessel, the OC said, adding that the four children said that they had been pushed off “Imam Hasan-5” by its staff.
The police sent the boys back to Dhaka on a Sadarghat-bound vessel.
Captain of the Imam Hasan-5 launch, Md Delwar Hossain, rejecting the allegation, claimed that the children willingly jumped into the river.
“When the dived into the Meghna, some of the passengers reported the matter to us. But we didn’t know how many boys were there,” he said.
Delwar, however, claimed that two of the boys jumped off the vessel to catch a trawler that headed for the Munshiganj launch terminal.
“They did so because we don’t anchor at the terminal. They weren’t thrown from our launch as it was at least 150 feet away from the terminal,” he said.
“We don’t even charge such minor hawkers,” Captain Delwar added.