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The factory owners cannot shrug off their responsibility for so many deaths. We want a proper inquiry into the matter, not just eyewash. The persons responsible for this incident must be brought to book

According to media reports, when the fire broke out at the ground floor of the building, the security guards locked the main gate. The workers rushed to the upper floors to escape the fire. The building had no firefighting system and so the fire spread rapidly. Some of the workers leapt from the roof and died. But most of the workers were burnt to death. There were around 200 workers in the building when the fire broke out. So far 52 bodies have been recovered. Another 50 or so have been injured, most of whom are undergoing treatment in hospital.

According to the law, such factories must have their own firefighting system. Many factories do have the equipment, but no trained personnel to use the equipment.

Another matter of concern is that the factory’s security guards were busy trying to save themselves and the factory. They did not bother about the workers. Many workers could not escape from the building as the main gate was locked when the fire broke out.

An officer of the fire brigade in charge of extinguishing the fire at the factory said such a factory should have at least four staircases. Hashem Foods had only two staircases and so the workers had to struggle to go down the stairs.

The question remains, will the workers continue to burn to death in such factories? Will there be no resolution? Is there nothing for the factory owners to do to protect the workers?

The factory owners cannot shrug off their responsibility for so many deaths. We want a proper inquiry into the matter, not just eyewash. The persons responsible for this incident must be brought to book. The families of the victims must be adequately compensated. Arrangements must be made for the treatment of the injured. This parade of death in factory mishaps must halt.

Workers all over the country broke out in protest after the Tazreen incident. Under pressure, the government even arrested the owner of the factory. But he later came out on bail and went abroad. The families of the workers who were killed and the injured workers were deprived of compensation. This must not be repeated in the case of Hashem Foods. The government must step up its surveillance so that no factory owner can evade the law and push the workers to their deaths.

The workers who have died in the fire will never return. But if proper investigation is carried out and legal action is taken against the persons responsible for this incident, then there is hope that such accidents can be averted in the future.

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