Seven-year-old girl fighting for life

  • Nargis Akhter tries to comfort her seven-year-old daughter Rupa who suffered burn injuries to 45% of her body during an arson attack at Gazipur. With her entire torso wrapped in bandages, Rupa is now writhing in pain at the DMCH burn institute
    Photo- Mahmud Hossain Opu

It is better to die for Nargis Begum rather to stay at the bedside of her seven-year-old daughter Mariam Akter Rupa, who received 45% burn injury in an arson attack.

Nargis lost her husband just two years back and now her only hope – her daughter – is fighting for life at the burn unit of the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH).

Doctors have wrapped almost all parts of her little body with thick bandage. They have apparently a little to do with her 45% burn except for asking Nargis to pray to God.

Widow Nargis Begum’s voice cracked as she had kept crying uncontrollably for her only child, praying for her recovery since Wednesday night.

Little Marium and her grandmother Safia Begum were traveling by a bus of Balaka Paribahan on Wednesday night to visit Mariam’s aunt’s house in Konabari.

Pro-hartal activists hurled a petrol bomb at the bus near Noujani area of Gazipur City Corporation. Five others also sustained burns in the attack along with Mariam and her grandmother.

“Once we had a nice family life. My husband Khokon ran a shop in Kishoreganj’s Hosenpur. Suddenly about three years back he fell ill. He was diagnosed with blood cancer. We sold everything we had for his treatment,” she said.

As the family had nothing left to sell for Khokon’s treatment Nargis decided to get a job. She with her small family moved to Gazipur.

They rented a small house in Borda area and luckily Nargis got a job at HT Sheikh Rehana Garments there.

But after a year cancer patient Abdul Matin Khokon died.

“I decided to go on with life with my daughter Mariam. I earned Tk6000 working as a helper at the factory and also worked overtime. I admitted Mariam to a local school this year,” she said.

The fatal incident took place when Nargis was at the garment factory working extra hours.

“A co-worker came to me and said he heard my daughter was burnt in a bus fire. People took her to a hospital,” she said.

When she reached the hospital by the time the hospital authorities was ready to whisk her off to the burn unit. “By an ambulance I brought her here,” she said.

Asked, the burn unit Resident Surgeon Partha Shankar Paul said the fire spared the girl’s face only. They have shifted her to the ICU in the afternoon yesterday.

Contacted, Khandoker Rezaul Hasan, Officer-in-Charge of Joydebpur police station said they had detained two youths and were interrogating them.

“Look, I have a child of her age. I want to go to the hospital to see Marium but not before I can nab those who hurled the petrol bomb. I have no courage to stand in front of the girl before I can arrest those culprits,” he told this correspondent last night.

According to the driver of the bus Jahangir, a few youths who were hiding themselves behind a large pile of waste before they suddenly appeared on the road and threw something at the bus and in no moment it was on fire.

Just a day ago of the incident seven people were burnt to death as blockaders hurled a petrol bomb at a bus in Comilla’s Chouddagram.

The bus was coming to Dhaka from Cox’s Bazar.

A total of 63 arson attack victims are undergoing treatment at the burn unit including seven at the ICU who are fighting for their lives.

Since January 5 a total of 119 victims have taken treatment at the burn unit and of them nine died while 47 were released.

Source: Dhaka Tribune

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