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Wednesday, January 30, 2013
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37 identified by DNA test

Thirty seven garment workers, burnt beyond recognition in the Tazreen fire on November 24 last year, have been identified through DNA profiling.

Two days after the inferno that killed at least 112 workers, DNA samples were collected from 59 unidentified bodies. Also 47 blood samples were taken from family members of those who went missing after the fire at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia.

Of the 59, six bodies were taken by their families and the rest 53 were buried in the capital's Jurain Graveyard on November 27.

Then the National Forensic Profiling Laboratory at Dhaka Medical College Hospital began DNA profiling on November 29.

A report on the test results has already been submitted to the labour and employment ministry, Ahmad Ferdous, scientific officer at the lab, said.

DNA samples of 37 victims matched samples from 36 families -- parents or children. Ten samples did not match with any of the victims.

Mikail Shipar, secretary to the labour ministry, said his office had received the report.

Asked when the families will be contacted, he said the report would be sent to the Prime Minister's Office first and then to the respective deputy commissioners.

On receiving the report, Bangladesh Garment Manufactures & Exporters Association (BGMEA) would move to pay compensations to the families of the victims identified, Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, acting president of the trade body, said.

Ansar Ali, who lost his wife Rahela Begum and sister-in-law Nazma Begum to the Tazreen blaze, is among those whose loved ones have been identified. He told this paper last night that he was relieved by the news.

"We can now at least offer prayers near their graves," he told this correspondent over the phone from Nishchintapur in Ashulia.

Manjurul Islam, who too had lost his wife Rehana Begum, said authorities had taken DNA samples from Rehana's mother, but as of 12:30am today he did not know whether the authorities found any match.

Meanwhile, a Supreme Court lawyer yesterday filed a petition with the High Court, seeking a directive on the government to arrest the owners of Tazreen Fashions Ltd and Smart Export Garments Ltd.

At least seven workers were killed in a fire at Smart Export on Saturday in the capital's Mohammadpur.

The petitioner, Eunus Ali Akond, also urged the HC to order the government and the two garment factories to pay compensations to the family members of the deceased and the injured.

The garment workers were killed due to the negligence of the owners in taking adequate safety measures, the petition says.

The HC bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik and Justice Mahmudul Hoque fixed today for hearing the petition.

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