Home Minister feels the heat for ‘loose’ comment

Two leaders of the ruling Awami League have criticised the comments by the Home Minister following the devastating collapse of a nine-storey building in Savar.

Munshiganj Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 26 April 2013, 10:19 AM
Updated : 26 April 2013, 10:19 AM

Awami League Presidium Member and Communication Minister Obaidul Quader urged Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir to not make any loose comments about the massive crisis at Savar.

Rescuers have come up with a list of 659 people who are still missing in the most fatal incident of a building collapse in the country.

Mohammad Nasim, another Presidium member, urged the Home Minister to come out of the tendency to place blames on others. The Home Minister in the 1996 government, Nasim also expressed his displeasure at the fact that the building’s owner was still at large.

Alamgir in an interview to BBC on Wednesday, the day of the disaster, said he had information that suggested some pro-shutdown activists shook the building and its collapsible gate before the disaster. He stated that it may be a cause of the collapse of the vulnerable structure.

The Home Minister repeated this claim to reporters the next day.

When asked about his reaction, Obaidul Quader who was taking part in a programme in Munshiganj said, “The tragedy at Savar is a humanitarian crisis. The time requires the government and the opposition to work together. It is important to contribute to the rescue efforts and stand by the helpless victims and not make loose claims...”
He also said those responsible for this massive loss of life should be quickly prosecuted.
Nasim who was taking part at a discussion in the capital on Friday said, “The government’s influential ministers are making unnecessary comments and tainting the government in the eye of the public. Blame is being put on others for any incident.”
He urged those responsible to come out of the culture of playing the blame game.
Nasim also demanded that Savar’s Upazila Executive Officer be removed and punished for permitting the use of the nine-storey building even after big cracks appeared in its structure the day before.
He demanded the immediate arrest of the building’s owner Mohammad Sohel Rana, a local Jubo League leader. “Everyone knows who the owner is. There is no need for evidence and investigation in this matter. Why did he run away? Only criminals run after committing crimes. The criminal has to be arrested and punished no matter who he is.”
Death toll in the Savar tragedy swelled to 304 on Friday afternoon, roughly after 50 hours since the collapse of Rana Plaza, with around 2,000 people injured and still more trapped under the rubble.
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