Death in water and cracked hearts left to grieve

Most of those who lost their lives in the tragedy hailed from different upazilas of Munshiganj
As news came in of the capsize of the Dhaka-bound ML Morning Bird launch, grieving family members of the victims spent most of Monday making queries at Sadarghat and at morgues in Dhaka and Munshiganj in search of their loved ones.

Among the victims was Abdur Rahman, 42, who used to run his family with the income he used to make from a small business at Koshaituli in Old Dhaka. He had admitted his eight-year-old son Sifat at a local madrasa in Dhaka.

The businessman, hit hard by the receding opportunities caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, was managing expenses from his savings with plans to recover once the pandemic was over.

As the situation deteriorated, he planned to send his family to Abdullahpur in Munshiganj because of the gathering financial crisis. He took his wife Hasina Begum and Sifat there in the beginning of June, but all their belongings had been kept at their Dhaka house as he was yet to pay two months’ rent in advance.

The small trader somehow managed a month of rent and was on his way to Dhaka to pay, but Monday’s launch capsize broke the family, said his wife Hasina’s elder sister Hamida Begum at the morgue of Mitford Hospital in Dhaka.

Most of those who lost their lives in the tragedy hailed from different upazilas of Munshiganj. Many used to travel to Dhaka every day, as the journey does not take too long by launch.

As soon as news of the accident spread, families of the passengers started to gather in Dhaka and commenced a desperate search on small boats at the site of the accident. Those who failed to find their loved ones made their way to the Mitford Hospital morgue.

Subarna Akhter, 35, was on her way to Dhaka for the treatment of her eight-year-old son Tamim, who has hormone and allergy problems, at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital. She went there first on Sunday and was asked to bring her son in on Monday.

Subarna headed for Dhaka from the family home in Sujanagar at Rampal, Munshiganj, with Tamim and her maternal uncle Golap Mia on Monday morning.

“We received news of the launch capsize at 11am and found the bodies in Dhaka after arriving here,” said Subarna’s brother-in-law Jakir. He was worried about what to do, as Subarna had left another son, 5, at their house in Munshiganj.

Another of the victims was Shamim Bepari, who came to Bangladesh from Saudi Arabia just five months ago because the Covid-19 pandemic had left him jobless. Shamim had a wife and three daughters.

“I suggested that he [Shamim] spend some time at my clothing store at Islampur in Dhaka, as he had nothing to do there [in Munshiganj]. He met this fate because he was coming to join work,” said Jashimuddin, who is the elder brother of Shamim’s wife.

He demanded punishment for everyone responsible for the accident.

Didar Hossain, 45, was accompanying his sister Ruma Begum, 40, on their journey to Dhaka to visit Ruma’s ailing husband.

Didar was a lentil trader in Dhaka’s Rahmatganj.

Didar’s family, saying he had married only seven months ago, could not find the words to express their condolences to his widow.

Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, officials of the district administration said they were not yet sure how many from Munshiganj had died in the capsize.

“We are working on a list by coordinating with the Dhaka district administration,” said Munshiganj Deputy Commissioner Md Moniruzzaman Talukder.

Tanjil Hasan of Munshiganj contributed to this report


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