The 5th anniversary of Tazreen Fashions tragedy will be observed today, but justice is still a far cry for victims’ families.
On November 24, 2012, the country witnessed a devastating fire at Tazreen Fashions Limited at Nishchintapur of Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital, killing at least 112 workers and injuring 200 others.
Though five years have elapsed, the survivors and the families of the dead workers are yet to get proper compensation as was promised by the authorities concerned.
As per the investigation committee report, the tragedy happened due to negligence of the owner. But no punishment has been met out to Delwar Hossain, the owner, or any other persons who were responsible for the tragic incident.
According to rights activists, BGMEA and foreign buyers, who were supposed to stand by the victims’ families with financial help, but they have done little in this regard, so far.
Because of delay in completion of trials, family members of the victims have been frustrated.
The cases are still pending with Dhaka First Additional District and Sessions Judge’s Court due to non-appearance of prosecution witnesses (PWs), slow pace of trial, negligence of prosecution lawyers and other complexities.
On September 3, 2015, trial started against 13 accused, including Tazreen owner and managing director (MD) Delwar Hossain and his wife and its chairman Mahmuda Akhter. Since then, only 12 PWs testified in the cases.
Other accused are Shahiduzzaman Dulal, Mahbubul Morshed, Hamidul Islam, Md Al Amin, Md Al Amin (2) and Anisur Rahman, Abdur Razzak, Md Rana, Shamim Miah, Dulal uddin and Mobarak Hossain Monju. All were top officials and employees of Tazreen Faishon Limited.
Additional Public Prosecutor Kazi Shahnara Yeasmin said, “The trial is not completing as witnesses are not turning up in court despite issuance of summons against them.”
She said, “Most of the witnesses are yet to appear before court for giving deposition. They are allegedly not living at their previous addresses given to the investigating officer (IO) during probe.”
According to the charge-sheet, Delwar and his wife constructed Tazreen factory building based on a faulty plan with the help of an engineer who illegally used its ground floor and walkway as a warehouse.
There was no fire exit in the factory though a provision of labour law stipulates that there must be two exits at every factory.
Managers and security guards have also been indicted in the case. Fire alarm rang as soon as the blaze broke out. Panicked workers tried to leave the factory before the fire spread nearby places. But, managers and security guards told them that it was nothing serious, the charge-sheet said.