Dhaka – Hundreds of people remembered Tuesday the factory workers who were killed in the worst-ever industrial disaster in Bangladesh five years ago.
Activists, relatives of the dead workers, survivors and people from different walks of life placed floral wreaths to a makeshift memorial set up at the disaster site in Savar outskirt of Dhaka.
At least 1,135 people, mostly garment workers, were killed and 2,500 others wounded after the eight-storey Rana Plaza building fell on them on April 24, 2013.
Activists turned up at a procession holding black flags and demanded April 24 to be announced officially the Labour Day in Bangladesh.
They also demanded further compensation for the families of those killed, life-long free medical treatment for the survivors, and safety in all the factories to avoid recurrence of such disaster.
“We don’t want recurrence of such incident in Bangladesh,” rights activist Sultana Kamal said after placing flowers at a makeshift memorial, the statue of two fists thrusting towards the sky grasping a hammer and sickle, in Savar.
She demanded a permanent memorial to be built at the site so that people from all walks of life can pay respect to the victims.
In Dhaka, the children of the dead workers remember their dear ones by lighting candle at a rally in front of National Press Club in Dhaka. The rally was addressed by survivors of the collapse and labour leaders.
Nilurfer Yasmin, a former worker of New Wave garment factory which was housed at the Rana Plaza building, said that she, like many other survivors, has been suffering from pain and trauma.
“Many of us are still in dire need of assistance,” she said adding that many of the workers did not get compensation yet.
Labour leaders demanded trial of the building owner, Sohel Rana, and others responsible for the disaster. The resented over the dormant state of the trial saying most of the accused are at large by now.
Bangladeshi police arrest Rana four days after the building collapse, but he was not sentenced yet even he and 40 others were charged for culpable homicide. Rana was sentenced three years in jail for amassing ill-gotten money.
The eight-storey Rana Plaza building was used mainly by five garment factories making clothing for Western fashion brands.
Many others placed flowers in Dhaka’s Zurain graveyard where most of the workers were buried.