Tuesday, 27 June 2017

INDIA: Eid Joy Turns To Sorrow In Chandrapur

Seven-year-old Sharmin Akhter was looking frequently at the path stretching before her house at Latabar village in Chandrapur union of the district, waiting to see her father come with her Eid gifts.

Then the air of festivity changed into mourning as her grandmother Aklima Begum and neighbours began wailing on receiving the news of death of 16 people, of the union, in a road accident early yesterday. Two of the victims were Aklima's two sons including Sharmin's father Saddam Islam.

Sharmin might not have realised what she had lost, but she burst into tears watching elders mourn and cry.

My father told me he had bought new clothes for me. He told me I would wear the new clothes during Eid, said Sharmin, only daughter of Saddam, at her home in Latabar village.

Thirty-five people, mostly low-income people and day labourers, from three villages Batrish Hazari, Latabar and Balapara of the union in Kaliganj upazila of Lalmonirhat met one of the worst road accidents in recent times as they were going home on a cement-laden truck.

The truck skidded off the Dhaka-Rangpur highway at Pirganj of Rangpur around 4:30am, leaving 11 people dead on the spot and 13 others injured, said Rezaul Karim, officer-in-charge of Pirganj Police Station. Later, five others succumbed to injuries.

All the victims used to work in Gazipur.

Jahangir Alam, Union Parishad chairman of Chandrapur, said death of so many people from the same union took away the joy of celebrating Eid.

Those, who were lucky, who escaped death, told me the accident took place because the driver was driving with sleepy eyes.

The truck driver, Nazim Uddin, who also hails from the same union, managed to flee after the accident.

Meanwhile, at her home, Aklima, 46, was passing out, as she learnt her two sons Saddam, 28, and Alamgir Hossain, 25, would never return to her.

Our sons told me they were coming home and they would bring clothes as Eid gifts. Now, forget clothes, my sons are no more,Aklima cried out. Her daughters-in-law Sharifa Begum and Khadiza Begum survived the accident luckily.

Like Aklima, Mizanur Rahman and Mahfuza Begum of Batrish Hazari village, were grieving as their son Maznu Miah, 22, was killed in the accident.

I talked to Maznu over the phone at around 11:00pm on Friday. He told me he would have sehri with us, Mizanur said.

Maznu, who had been working at a garment factory in Dhaka since 2010, had a plan to buy a piece of land with his savings after Eid.

Now, everything is over, Mizanur said.

Of our two sons, the elder one lives separately. We were dependent on Maznu, said Maznu's mother Mahfuza Begum.

We didn't lose our son only, but also our dream, hope, shelter. We don't know how to survive without our son Maznu, she sobbed.

Rubel Islam, 28, of Batrish Hazari village, also saw his hope and dreams shattered after losing his father Kohinur Islam, 48, to the accident.

His father had wanted to return to the village, leaving his job in a garment factory, to open a grocery shop.

Today, he is no more, he said,And my mother is injured. I don't know what is in her fate as she is in a critical condition,said Rubel with tears.

Contacted, truck owner Abdul Karim of Chandrapur said the truck driver was responsible for the accident. I didn't permit him to carry passengers.