As the fire ravages the Hashem Foods factory, the search for missing workers begins. Some are minors
Unable to hold back tears, “the duo, who were called Jhuma” and “Lima,” told law enforcement that they had come to pick up their teenage sister, a factory worker who was not not returned since the fire. .
This sister, Israt Jahan Fuli, would soon become the 48th name on the list of missing persons drawn up by police in Rupganj on Friday.
Like Jhuma and Lima, many others had also gathered at the entrance to the Sajeeb Group factory in search of their loved ones.
According to families, most of the missing workers were under 18.
The Karnagop factory in Rupganj processes juices, soft drinks and various other food products.
The death toll currently stands at 52 after rescuers recovered 49 charred bodies from the wreckage of the burning factory on Friday.
Firefighters nearly brought the blaze under control when it ignited again on the fifth and sixth floors on Friday morning.
Worried about their loved ones, the frustrations of the families of the workers trapped inside the factory quickly turned into strong protests, culminating in clashes with the police.
Farzana, 14, had worked at the factory for a few years for a monthly salary of 5,000 Tk, her mother Jharna Begum said. With a photo of her daughter in hand, Jharna was pacing the factory grounds to find out where Farzana is.
Moumita, Farzana’s colleague, accompanied him. Among the products made at the factory were Shezan juice, ‘chanachur’, vermicelli, chocolate spread and other food products, Moumita said. She was off duty when the fire broke out on Thursday.
The factory employed many teenagers but they were not allowed to work at night, she added.
bdnews24.com could not comment from Hashem Foods regarding the employment of underage workers.
Fuli and her family are from Habiganj. As the coronavirus pandemic reduced their family income, Fuli’s family were forced to send her to work, her sister Lima said with a sigh.
The sisters, both workers in a garment factory, are now guilty of sending their younger brother to work.
âGarment factories don’t allow underage workers to work, but Hashem Foods gave them the opportunity. That’s why a lot of teenagers worked there, âsaid Lima.
While listing the names of the missing workers, SI Mintu of Rupganj Police sought to appease the panicked families by saying that many workers were lost in the crowd and would soon be found.
âPlease pray that this will be the case with our sister as well,â said Lima.