Naria upazila sees highest cases

The major reasons behind deaths in the Mediterranean are boat capsizes, excessive cold and and excessive heat. According to the police and family sources, some 10 youths of Naria upazila drowned in a boat capsize in the sea in 2019. Besides, two died after falling sick due to excessive heat while another one was frozen to death in January this year.

Apart from that, some 15 people of the district went missing after embarking on an illegal trip to Italy. Five of them were from Sadar upazila while four from Bhedarganj upazila and six from Jajira upazila. They all went missing in the last two years as their boat capsized in the Mediterranean.

Helpless families

Kamrul Hasan, who died of cold in the Mediterranean on 25 January, was the only son of Abul Bashar and Lovely Bashar. The family reached a deal with a local agent to send Kamrul to Italy at a cost of Tk 800,000 (Tk 8 lakh).

Now the family is mired in uncertainty and financial hardship. Abul Bashar told Prothom Alo that Kamrul had stopped his studies.

“Ignoring the possible danger, we had sent him to Italy by the sea route with a dream of bringing solvency to the family. But my son turned into a corpse on the way,” the father wailed.

Parvez Mridha was among the 10 youth who drowned in the Mediterranean on 15 May, 2019. His mother Parvin Akhter told Prothom Alo that her son was going to Italy with his nine friends with help of a local agent. But they all had to die as their boat capsized in the sea.

“I sold a pirce of land and gave to Tk 750,000 (Tk 7.5 lakh), but I have lost both my son and the money,” she lamented, adding that her husband died from the shock of their son’s demise.

Condition of lawsuits

The Shariatpur police said a total of 47 cases were filed over the deaths and missing incidents in the last three years. Police pressed charges in 25 cases. Of them, nine cases were disposed of while the remaining 16 cases are under trial.

Besides, police submitted final reports in 12 cases and the remaining 10 cases are now at the investigation stage.

Sources said relatives of many deceased and missing people already negotiated with the accused.

SM Ashrafuzzaman, the superintendent of Shariatpur police, said the the agent gangs settle the issues with the affected families in the human trafficking cases. As a result, the cases lose merit for going to the next phases of trial.