The families of Nimtoli fire victims still wait for justice as the police are yet to make any progress towards investigating the tragic incident that occurred in 2010.
The cause of the fire – which originated from a chemical warehouse in Old Dhaka and left 124 people dead – remains unknown to this day. Many victims say they still suffer the wounds of that fateful day, but those responsible for the incident are yet to face any punishment.
The then Bangshal police inspector Abul Hasan said no cases were filed over the fire that took place on 3 June 2010, only a general diary was filed. Hasan, who is now the Officer-in-Charge of Gulshan police station, said no investigation took place after the general diary was filed.
Commenting on the matter, Bangshal police station OC Abul Khayer said he joined the police station recently, and cannot say anything about the progress of investigation on the Nimtoli fire.
Another police officer, on condition of anonymity, said the investigation is a far cry, as they cannot even find a copy of the general diary.
A local resident named Mamun Mia lost his seven year old boy in the fire and suffered burn injuries on his head, hand and ears. "People responsible for the fire were never brought to justice. We do not even know who owned the chemical warehouse, or whose fault caused the fire."
Four years after the incident, Mamun took out a loan with high interest and resumed his fruit business which was damaged in the fire. "Fire in the building was doused, the wounds in my body are healing, but I will never recover from the wounds in my mind," he added.
Another survivor Syed Makbul Ali lost his wife in the fire. He said, "After the incident, the government provided some cash compensation to the victims' families, but for only one time. Nobody cares anymore about those who were affected."
Fire-fighting authorities also did not investigate the cause of the Nimtoli fire, sources say.
Speaking to The Business Standard, Fire Service Assistant Director (Operations) Abdul Halim said the fire originated from a chemical warehouse. "Many such warehouses are still secretly operating in that area," he added.
Local people said the area still faces a severe risk of similar fire incidents as the authorities do not carry out vigilance there.