When a fire engulfed Tazreen Fashion's building in 2012, a garment factory in Savar, a panicked Hafsa Begum jumped from its third floor. She did not think she would survive, but hoped that her family would be able to identify her body.
"Had I been ravaged by fire, they would not even have been able to recognise me," she said.
The fire claimed 111 garment workers' lives and injured many more. Since then eight years have passed. Those who survived gathered in front of the National Press Club on Tuesday, demanding: justice, proper medical treatment, one-time compensation, and accommodation.
Some of the survivors have been there with their demands for more than two months. Hafsa is one of them. She survived the jump, but it cost her a leg – making her handicapped for life. She has yet to receive compensation.
"I have been here [at the Press Club] for two months. When the blaze raged through the building, I jumped from the third floor hoping my family would be able to find my body. Now I am living as a crippled person."
The injured victims of the Tazreen fire incident said they tried to march towards the Gonobhaban, the official residence of the prime minister, at 12pm, but were stopped by police.
Shamim Imam, coordinator of Garment Workers Rights Movement; Shahidul Islam Sabuj, general secretary of the Garment Workers Unity Forum; Shabnam Hafeez, president of Garment Workers Liberation Movement; Mahbubur Rahman Ismail, president of Textile Garment Workers Federation Advocate; Iqbal Kabir, president of Biplobi Chhatra Maitri; and many others were also present at the rally.
Meanwhile, relatives of the victims gathered at the main gate of Tazreen Fashion in Nischintopur of Ashulia on Tuesday morning. Garment Workers Solidarity, the Textile Garment Workers Federation, the Garment Workers Trade Union Center, the Bangladesh Labour Institute, the Bangladesh Garment-Workers Trade Union Federation, and several other organisations also paid homage to the victims who died in the massive blaze, with flowers.
In a statement, Garment Workers Trade Union's President advocate Montu Ghosh and General Secretary Jolly Talukder, strongly condemned and protested the procrastination of the trial of the "murder" of the Tazreen garment workers.
Tazreen Fashions was launched in 2009. The factory employed almost 1,630 workers. It manufactured t-shirts, polo shirts and jackets for a variety of companies and organisations, including the US Marines, C&A, Walmart, and the Hong Kong-based Lee & Fung.
Tazreen Fashions was a concern of Tuba Group, which exports garments products to Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands.