‘Dividing nation won’t be pleasant’

Awami League General Secretary believes the unity and togetherness in individuals and communities that the worst-ever building collapse has galvanised will last long.

Ashraf, also the LGRD Minister, expressed the hope at a meeting with the leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (BKMEA) on Friday.

“The Opposition Leader [Khaleda Zia] went to the site (at Savar) after the accident, withdrew the general strike. The nation forged unity because of it and I hope it will remain so for long.” he said to reporters.

He said the entire nation was grief-struck and became unified after the incident and warned it would be unwise to try to divide and enrage the nation.

At the meeting, Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir said arrest warrants had been issued for the owners of the Rana Plaza and the garment factories and hoped they would be detained soon.

Alamgir said the government has slapped an embargo so that neither the building owner nor the factories owners could escape abroad.

In an interview with the BBC on Wednesday, the day of the disaster, Alamgir said he had ‘information’ suggesting some pro-shutdown activists shook the building and its collapsible gate which might be a cause of the collapse.

He repeated this claim to reporters the next day and has sparked outrage, even from his party colleagues.

So far, 307 dead bodies have been lifted out of the rubble while hundreds are feared trapped.

Home Minister Alamgir urged several workers’ platforms to withdraw their strikes while Industries Minister Dilip Barua warned that a vested quarter was trying to make the most of the situation.

Monnujan Sufian, State Minister for Labour and Employment, hoped the garment workers’ platforms would call off the strike call.

Two days after the accident, eight platforms of workers have called for the strike on Sunday.

BGMEA President Md Atiqul Islam sensed ‘dubious intentions’ behind the tragedy and urged the Home Minister to do whatever was necessary to save the readymade garment sector.

“The country will live if this sector lives,” he said.

Bangladesh is the second largest exporter of readymade garments behind China. The sector contributes around 80 percent to the country’s export income. Over the past decade, the sector has thrived much thanks to global clothing giants’ interest in the country’s low-cost labour market.

Accidents have plagued the sector and raised questions about safety issues for the workers. A devastating fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory had claimed over 110 lives and a building collapse in 2005 had killed over 50 people in Dhaka.

Nine-storey Rana Plaza at Savar that housed five garment factories caved in Wednesday morning. So far, over 300 dead bodies have been pulled out of the debris and many more are feared trapped in the rubble.

Source: Bd news24



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