Published: Wednesday, May 8, 2013

No more tears left

Relatives of Savar victims suffer in silence, wait

The tears in their eyes have almost dried up. Some even do not have the energy to wail or frantically rush here and there anymore. But still, they wait at Adhar Chandra High School playground in Savar to collect the bodies of their loved ones, lost in Rana Plaza collapse.
For the last 14 days since the worst factory disaster of the country, relatives of the victims have been rushing from one hospital to another in Savar and Dhaka with swinging between hope and despair.
As their frantic search turned futile, they returned to the school playground where the recovered bodies are brought for identification. The place is now a virtual home to around 100 people who have been waiting to collect the bodies of their near ones for a burial.
“My prayer is that the Almighty helps me find my daughter’s body, so that her mother can see her and put to eternal rest,” said Shamsul Alam of Naogaon, adding, “I don’t know how long Allah will continue to put my faith to test.
Alam’s only child Moushumi had been working on the sixth floor of the collapsed nine-storey Rana Plaza for the last three months.
He said he had given blood samples at Dhaka Medical College Hospital on Sunday for DNA test.
The situation of Buli Begum is no less painful. Holding one of her grandchildren on her bosom, she came rushing to The Daily Star correspondent and requested to note down her daughter’s name.
“Her name is Mallika. She used to work on the third floor,” said Buli Begum, “Her daughters cannot sleep without their mother. Nowadays they always cry. I have brought them here saying that their mother will be back soon.”
Mallika has two daughters — Aklima, 6, and Ani, 2.
“What will I tell them, if I can’t even find her [Mallika's] body,” said the heartbroken mother.
Before her words reached a pause, a few more people came rushing, requesting the same thing as if putting the names on news would help them find the bodies.
“Do you need our phone numbers?” asked one from the crowd.
Jyotsna Begum was one of them. He son Jashim, who worked on the fifth floor as a machine operator, was the only breadwinner of the four-member family since his father had become physically unable.
“I haven’t seen my son for so many days. Will I ever get to see his face,” she was crying.
Everyone gathered at the Adhar Chandra High School playground has their own painful story. Near the school gate, Lovely Akhter was found beating the ground and wailing. She found her brother Al-Amin’s body and identified it by the clothes and some marks on the legs.
“Oh my brother, where have you gone … who will call me sister now,” is only what the correspondent could understand.
The body was being sent to her village home in Joypurhat. But Lovely did not go, as she has another brother Shaheen missing.
The screaming of Arjina brought tears to everyone’s eyes. She lost her sister Rashida’s. She identified her sister by the dress and tabiz (amulet). “Had I not let you go that day, I would not have seen you in this way,” she mourned.