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Rana Plaza tragedy: Justice pending for 11 years


The trial for the murder case related to the devastating Rana Plaza building collapse, which occurred on April 24, 2013, in Savar, on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka, is still ongoing after 11 years. This tragic incident claimed the lives of 1,135 people. So far, 84 witnesses out of 594 have given their depositions, prompting victim workers and their families to question the prosecution's sincerity.


Bimal Samadder, the additional public prosecutor at the Dhaka district and session judge court, informed that the recording of the witness deposition had faced significant delays due to a stay order from the High Court in favour of multiple accused individuals. However, it is worth noting that the recording of witness deposition has been on-going for over a year, following a consistent schedule.


According to Attorney General AM Amin Uddin, the Appellate Division issued an order in January to conclude the murder case within six months. The prosecution is diligently working to comply with this directive from the highest court.


The case statements reveal that a tragic event unfolded on April 24 and April 24, 1013, resulting in the loss of 1,135 lives and leaving 1,169 individuals with severe injuries. This devastating incident occurred due to the collapse of the Rana Plaza building. There have been 20 cases filed about this incident, three of which were criminal lawsuits. The police have filed a murder case in connection with the worker's killings. At the same time, Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) has also filed a case for violating the National Building Code. Additionally, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is investigating allegations of corruption related to the building construction.


The murder case is currently under review at the Dhaka District and Session Judge Court, with the recording of witness depositions being delayed due to the case filed for building code violation.

Reasons for delay in murder case


Upon reviewing the case documents, it is evident that the investigation into the murder case spanned two years. Recently, investigating agencies have been granted permission to charge-sheet six government officials involved in this case. During that period, the public administration and labour ministries made it clear that they would prevent the investigating agencies from disclosing the names of officials involved in the charge sheet, as they had not committed any significant offenses.


In a surprising turn of events, the police's Criminal Investigation Department filed the charge sheet in 2016, including the names of those officials. A year later, the court ordered the framing of charges, further intensifying the situation.


However, seven individuals involved in the case challenged the order of charge framing, taking their case to the high court. The court halted the trial process, causing a five-year delay in the deposition of witnesses. The case deposition commenced on January 31, 2022, following the cancellation of the stay order for six accused individuals.


Three individuals who were charged with a crime were acquitted due to their unfortunate demise. The total number of accused has now reached 38. Currently, the only person behind bars is Sohel Rana, the son of the owner of Rana Plaza.


According to Nilufar Akter, a survivor of the Rana Plaza collapse, numerous workers, including her, were left disabled as a result of the tragic incident. After 11 long years, justice remains elusive in the face of this brutal incident. The timeline for the punishment of Sohel Rana and others remains uncertain.


Several individuals who were injured in the collapse are sharing their distressing ordeal, expressing their disappointment at not receiving any compensation.




The recording statement was stopped in a building code violation case


In a significant development, the CID submitted charge sheets on April 26, 2015, against 18 individuals, including Sohel Rana. These individuals are accused of violating building codes and using substandard materials during the construction of Rana Plaza. Dhaka's chief judicial magistrate court framed the charges in the case on June 14 and June 14 of next year. However, specific individuals who were accused decided to challenge the order in the high court.


According to Additional Public Prosecutor Anowarul Kabir, the progress of recording witness statements has come to a halt due to stay orders from the high court that some of the accused have obtained. The case is currently being tried in the district and sessions judge courts.


A corruption case related to the construction of a building is being tried at the Dhaka Divisional Special Judge Court. The recording of statements from witnesses is in its final stage in this case.


Kalpana Akter, the leader of the garment workers, expressed her deep frustration over the lack of justice in the tragic collapse that claimed the lives of over a thousand workers.


According to her, the prosecution claims that the case will be resolved swiftly every year on the anniversary of the building collapse. The case would have been resolved much earlier if true justice was their priority.



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