South Asia

Owners of Bangladesh garment factory surrender

A fugitive couple, who owned a garment factory where 112 workers were charred to death two years ago, today surrendered here before a court which rejected their bail petition and sent them to jail in the deadliest industrial fire case in Bangladesh.

The court passed the order, nearly three hours after Tazreen Fashions Managing Director Delwar Hossain and his wife Mahmuda Akter, who is also the chairperson, surrendered before it seeking bail in the case.

Their surrender came as a lower court declared them fugitive and issued an arrest warrant in December.

Delwar and Mahmuda surrendered before the court of Senior Judicial Magistrate Tajul Islam this morning, the Daily Star reported.

During the hearing, around 500 workers of Tazreen Fashions Ltd chanted slogans outside the court demanding death penalty for the couple.

On December 22 last year, 13 people, including the owners of a garment manufacturing unit, were charged with culpable homicide for the death of 112 people in the blaze.

The accused were also charged with mischief by fire and causing grievous hurt and death by negligence.

At least 112 workers, mostly women, were killed and scores wounded in the country’s worst industrial fire at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital on November 24 in 2012.

The factory supplied clothes to several international brands, including US giant Walmart, Dutch retailer C&A and ENYCE, a label owned by US rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs.

The fire was the country’s deadliest ever industrial accident till the Rana Plaza garment factory complex collapsed just months later, killing more than 1100 people.

Bangladesh’s garment industry is worth over USD 20 billion, second only to China, but is often in the international spotlight because of poor safety conditions.

Factory owners are rarely charged over such accidents in the sector, which employs over 3.6 million workers, mostly women, and accounts for 77 per cent of the country’s exports.

Workers are often paid as little as USD 38 a month.

Bangladesh has pledged to clean up the industry and more than 100 top Western retailers have agreed on new safety measures to allow greater scrutiny of their operations.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 1:52:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/owners-of-bangladesh-garment-factory-surrender/article5670276.ece

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