First came “God has taken back his creation”, and then “We are looking for shotroos [enemies].” A few years later, the nation heard another home minister say, “Lock your doors to ensure safety.”
But Home Minister MK Alamgir has beaten all his predecessors with his latest comment on how the nine-storey Rana Plaza in Savar had collapsed. And he did not say this just once, but twice, yesterday and on the day before.
He said, “So-called hartal supporters went to the place [Rana Plaza] and tried to shut the factories [in the building] down. There was already a pillar that had almost collapsed. These people banged on this pillar and the adjacent collapsible gate.”
“The whole building came crushing down perhaps due to this banging that caused one part to collapse completely,” said Alamgir at a press briefing yesterday.
He tried to be logical but instead made the media further baffled when he added, “We are not sure that this has happened. But there was such incident.”
Owner of the building Sohel Rana happens to be a Jubo League leader. Many people think Alamgir was saying this to save Rana.
Meanwhile, the minister’s comment has drawn huge flak from people of all walks of life. Even the most renowned engineers, architects and lawyers described his theory as a manifestation of “mental disorder”.
“Only a mad man can say this. A mentally sound man can never even think of it,” said architect Iqbal Habib.
Country’s one of the most noted civil engineers wishing anonymity said, “I would rather ask the home minister to go and try out whether a building can be brought down by shaking its pillars.”
Lt Col Md Moinuddin, commanding officer of Army Engineer Battalion that is carrying out rescue operation at the building site, said the structure’s concrete failed a day before the collapse. As people got into it and the power generators were running after a blackout, the building collapsed succumbing to human load and the generators’ vibration.
Brig Gen Ali Ahmed Khan, chief of Fire Service and Civil Defence, said a 30,000 square feet building does not collapse if people shake its gate.
He said vibration from the generators had been enough for the collapse, as cracks had already developed on the structure.
BNP standing committee member MK Anwar yesterday said such comment was “not expected from an educated minister”. He asked the home minister how low he wanted to stoop his position.
Many people also wondered if it was in the nature of the home minister’s post, which made them talk out of the world things.
A decade ago, after the killing of a young girl by a mugger, then home minister Altaf Hossain shocked the nation by saying, “God has taken back his creation!”
A couple of years later, following countrywide bomb blast by Islamist group Jama’atul Mujahedin Bangladesh, then home minister Lutfozzaman Babar in his mixed up Bangla and English said that he was looking for shotroos.
And in the recent years, following the murder of journalist couple Sagar and Runi, former home minister Shahara Khatun had asked countrymen to keep the doors tightly locked to ensure safety.
Source: The Daily Star