Preeti Urang would not die if journalist Ashfaqul, wife had faced trial for past incident: protesters

The 15-year-old domestic worker from Moulvibazar died ‘after falling’ from the flat of Daily Star journalist Syed Ashfaqul Haque

Published : 20 Feb 2024, 09:29 PM
Updated : 20 Feb 2024, 09:29 PM

Tea garden workers of Moulvibazar have protested against the death of Preeti Urang, a girl from the community who died ‘after falling’ from the eighth floor flat of The Daily Star journalist Syed Ashfaqul Haque in Dhaka.

Preeti, 15, a member of the Urang tribe and a family of tea workers, was a domestic worker at the house of Ashfaqul, executive editor of the English-language newspaper.

She was the second underage house help to fall from the flat in around nine months.

Bangladesh Tea Worker Union organised a human-chain demonstration at Srimangal in Moulvibazar on Tuesday, demanding punishment of those behind Preeti’s death following a proper investigation.

Bijoy Hajra, organising secretary of the union, alleged Preeti had not been allowed to communicate with her family since she had got the job at Ashfaqul’s house through the English language daily’s Moulvibazar district correspondent.

Paresh Kalindi, finance secretary of the union, said the leaders of the organisation were not informed about Preeti’s death after the incident on Feb 6. They learnt about it from TV reports.

Preeti’s parents were taken to Dhaka, but they were told that Preeti fell sick, according to Paresh.

He alleged Preeti’s death was a “planned murder”.

On Aug 6 last year, a similar incident took place at Ashfaqul's house, where a 9-year-old house help was severely injured after jumping out of a window in the building.

Her mother accused Ashfaqul, his wife Tania Khondoker, and another woman of torturing the child in a case over the incident.

In the case over Preeti’s death Ashfaqul and Tania are accused of culpable homicide, or negligence leading to the death.

The couple were arrested and remanded in police custody after the latest incident.

A court rejected their bail petition on Tuesday.

At the protest in Moulvibazar, the worker union’s Vice-President Pankaj Kanda said: “Another house help was injured after falling from the eighth floor of the journalist’s house. Her mother has not got justice yet.

“Preeti would not have died had the past misdeed been tried. It’s not an unnatural death, but murder,” he said.