Relatives of Rana Plaza victims who are still missing said on Tuesday that some bodies of dead victims were concealed, an allegation the rescuers rejected outright.
Saying that it is their first priority to rescue the survivors from under the rubble, if there is any, Maj Gen Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy of the 9th Infantry Division, which is leading the rescue operation now, said they were putting their best efforts to pull out the bodies unhurt.
“It would be very painful if people think this way. We are rescuing people risking our lives and this kind of thought will break our mental strength,” he said, referring to the allegation.
His reaction came at a press briefing near the nine-storey collapsed building Tuesday following allegations made at the site and at a demonstration in front of the Jatiya Press Club (JPC).
Around 100 relatives of the missing victims started a sit-in in front of the JPC at about 11:45am.
They gathered there after failing to find their dear ones’ corpses at Dhaka Medical College and Sir Salimullah Medical College morgues.
During the half-an-hour programme, they aggrieved relatives alleged that the government was concealing huge number of bodies.
Saleha Begum from Barisal told The Daily Star that her daughter and son-in-law, who used to work on the fourth floor of Rana Plaza, were yet to be found.
“The authorities concerned might have hidden the bodies,” she said in an allegation many of those present there echoed.
Addressing the press conference at Savar, Maj Gen Suhrawardy said people stopped and checked vehicles carrying debris from the now-flattened Rana Plaza at different points on their way to three separate dumping sites to see whether those were carrying bodies of collapse victims.
Replying to journalists’ query about confusion regarding death toll, the army official said: “We sent all the rescued — those who remained trapped alive and those who have died — from under the debris and sent them to hospital.”
“We don’t know if any injured succumbed at hospitals. It’s because our working area is limited to the site only,” he added.
The deputy commissioner in Savar and police can give the exact figure of the deceased, he suggested.
Rana Plaza, which housed five garment factories, a branch of Brac Bank and a shopping complex, collapsed Wednesday morning, trapping several thousand people inside it. The death toll from the collapse has reached 388.
Source: The Daily Star