Journalist, wife taken to police station after domestic worker ‘falls to her death’ in Dhaka

Another 9-year-old child working at the house of Daily Star Executive Editor Syed Ashfaqul Haque was seriously injured allegedly after jumping off his house last year

Published : 6 Feb 2024, 01:43 PM
Updated : 6 Feb 2024, 01:43 PM

A teenage domestic worker has fallen to her death from the eighth floor of a residential building in Dhaka’s Mohammadpur.

Preeti Urang, 15, from Mittinga village in Moulvibazar’s Kamalganj Upazila, worked at the house of Syed Ashfaqul Haque, the executive editor of English-language newspaper The Daily Star, said Mahfuzul Haque Bhuiyan, the chief of Mohammadpur Police Station.

Police recovered and sent the girl's body to Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital morgue for a post-mortem examination after receiving news of the incident around 8am on Tueday.

Locals gathered in front of the house and started a demonstration after the incident, alleging that the girl was killed.

Ashfaqul, his wife Tania Khondoker, and four others from the house were taken to the police station. They were at the police station in the afternoon.

Multiple attempts to reach Ashfaqul failed, and his colleagues declined comment.

Anwar Hossain, a food vendor in the area, said that the girl fell from the top of a building near the Geneva Camp on Shahjahan Road at approximately 8am.

He said a similar incident had occurred at the house before.

Last year on Aug 6, a 9-year-old child house help was seriously injured after jumping off Ashfaqul’s house through a window.

The child's mother later filed a case against Ashfaqul, Tania, and another woman named 'Shilpi' at Mohammadpur Police Station, alleging torture of the girl.

Preeti's uncle, Nagen Urang, said that six months ago, her maternal uncle, Phulsai, arranged a housemaid job for her in the capital where Phulsai's niece also lives.

On Tuesday morning, a car arrived and took Preeti's parents and uncle Phulsai to Dhaka without citing the reason.

Nobody mentioned Preeti's death at that time. Dhana Bauri, member of the local union council. informed everyone about it after getting details from a local journalist.

When reached Phulsai on his mobile phone, he confirmed Preeti's death but ended the call abruptly when asked about the circumstances of her passing.

Nagen, too, could not give specific information about the incident.

He stated that Preeti had a sister and a brother, and due to a lack of work in the tea garden, their parents needed to look for employment elsewhere.

Upon learning of her death, members of the local Urang community gathered at UP member Dhana Bauri's residence.

Satlal Urang, a senior member of the Urang community, mentioned that people from Dhaka came and took Preeti's parents, saying their daughter was ill.

“We only learnt about Preeti's death after contacting the Kamalganj Police Station," he said.

“We are deeply saddened to learn about the incident in which a young house help met with a tragic death at the residence of our senior colleague and Executive Editor Syed Ashfaqul Haque,” the Daily Star said in a statement.

“We express our deepest sorrow at the unfortunate occurrence and convey our deepest condolence to her bereaved family. We await the outcome of the investigation,” it said.