Plight of Rana Plaza victims overshadows Eid festivities
While Eid ul Fitr is the most significant religious occasion for Muslims in the country, this year, celebrations that usually accompany the day have become somewhat muted with the relentless suffering of hapless Rana Plaza victims hanging over the nation’s conscience. While many victims of the tragic building collapse, which killed more than 1,100 workers, have been handed out financial packages ranging from the initial Tk 20,000 to Tk 15 lakh, depending on the gravity of their injuries, hundreds still await compensation packages along with rehabilitation assistance. New Age reports that a section of disgruntled workers staged sit-ins on Eid day to press home their plight.
Without any reservation whatsoever and keeping in mind the inclusive spirit of Eid in perspective, we feel that observing the special day with dissatisfaction and a sense of disillusionment by a section of society detracts from the fulfilment of the day.
Religion states unequivocally that Eid is for everyone and it is the duty of the well heeled to ensure that those who face tribulations of life are not left out. Unfortunately, the mere fact that a couple of hundred workers were left in the lurch is reminiscent of the revolting social practice of forgetting helpless ones in a matter of months. The impact of the Rana Plaza tragedy has transgressed boundaries, affecting the garment industry — arguably the backbone of the economy. While almost all foreign buyers are looking afresh into the safety aspects of having products manufactured in Bangladesh, the importance of seeing victims of Rana Plaza adequately compensated has also been a priority.
It stands to reason that if Bangladesh is to retain trade privileges, including garment buyers, it must show all efforts are being taken to help those affected by the building collapse. When the expectations are such, a public protest at the Central Shaheed Minar, followed by the voicing of disenchantment points at lapses in the rehabilitation process.
Incidentally, soon after the horrible accident, several business conglomerates announced support and although several came forward with financial assistance, there is a discrepancy between the promises made and pledges fulfilled.
Reportedly, several women with debilitating wounds continue to suffer in hospitals, facing the additional trauma of social exclusion, triggered by physical limitations resulting from the accident.
It is good to keep in mind that financial help always comes first but money is never an efficacious answer to deep emotional scars. Some of the victims may have been given monetary support but they continue to suffer subtle social prejudices resulting in desertion by husband or close friends. The need to address inner upheavals has totally been overlooked and may result in many women gradually losing their sanity.
The bottom line remains that all those who suffered in the caving in of the building must be given holistic assistance with all government and private agencies concered stepping in. It is only right that acclaimed women’s empowerment projects shift their attention to Rana Plaza victims for a certain period instead of letting the prevailing indignation snowball into a permanent affliction.
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