Md Shamim, 17, worked at a vermicelli factory at the fourth floor of the Hashem Food and Beverage Limited in Narayanganj, where a deadly fire burnt 52 workers to death on Thursday.
"I will come home before Eid after getting the salary," he told his father over the phone on Wednesday, a day before he was burnt alive to death due to the negligence of authorities concerned. Neither the father, nor the son knew that they were talking for the last time.
Shamim and his friend Mohiuddin have been missing since fire engulfed the factory building that reportedly had no safety measures at all.
Both of them had been working in the factory on that day, Shamim's father Hafez Fakhrul Islam, hailed from Char Fashion upazila in the island district of Bhola.
Fakhrul Islam came to know about the fire on Friday morning. He and Md Salahuddin, elder brother of Mohiuddin, left Bhola at 9:00am on Saturday and reached Dhaka at 1:00am Sunday, spending around Tk10,000 on the way, due to lack of public transport amid the ongoing countrywide strict lockdown.
Most of the way, they had to come by rickshaw or on foot. On Sunday morning, they came to the morgue of Dhaka Medical College and Hospital.
Fakhrul Islam works as the imam of a mosque in his village with a salary of only Tk3,500. In addition to the family expenses, he has to bear the educational cost of his four sons and daughters with such a small amount of money. With an aim to save money for his studies, Shamim came to Dhaka with his friend Mohiuddin two months ago, without telling anyone of his family.
He managed a job at the vermicelli factory in Narayanganj. He contacted with his family over the phone a week after taking the job.
On last Wednesday, Shamim told his father that his salary will be paid before the Eid-ul-Adha and e would come home with the money.
"Shamim's interest in studies was very strong. So, as the eldest son of the poor family, he moved to the capital to earn the money needed for his education. But he did not return home. Now his mother is almost mad after getting the news of her son's death," informed the aggrieved father.
Mohiuddin's elder brother Salahuddin told TBS, "I had my last conversation with Mohiuddin on Wednesday. On receiving the news of the fire on Thursday evening, I repeatedly called him for hours. His phone rang and none pick up the phone till 6:30 pm. After that, the phone stopped ringing."
He said, "He was the second among our eight brothers and sisters. Our father is not alive and mother fell ill after hearing the news. She is on bed now, fainting time to time.
Claiming that the factory owners killed his brother in the factory, Salauddin said, "All the doors were locked; all the workers were locked up and killed. We want justice for this murder."
Not only 52 people died in the fire at Hashem Food Factory at Rupganj in Narayanganj, but dreams of hundreds of near and dear ones of the dead workers also were killed, said the aggrieved brother.
The relatives of the missing workers do not know whether their loved ones are among the burnt bodies recovered from the burnt building. In search of their loved ones, they thronged in front of the morgue of Dhaka Medical College to give samples for DNA matching.
Morshed Mia, father of Amena who worked at Sezan juice factory of the burnt building, told TBS, "Will I not be able to see my daughter's face one last time? Will we be given a body? How can I explain to my grandson that his mother is not alive?"
Mamtaz Begum, a resident of Noakhali, came to look for the body of her sister, Nazma Begum, 35. Breaking down in tears, she said, "I would not have regretted if took her away. But how could I console myself now as my sister was killed after being locked up inside the factory?"
Nazma Begum and her son worked in the same factory. The boy was at home on the day of the fire. Talking on his mobile phone after the fire broke out, she told his son that she could not breathe. "Fire is engulfing us from all around and all the gates are locked from outside," Nazma had said before being burnt to ashes.
On Thursday evening, at least 49 workers -- trapped on the third floor with its only exit locked -- died when a massive fire engulfed the Hashem Foods factory building. Three others also died after jumping off the six-storey factory.
According to DMCH sources, the bodies of 49 workers had been brought to the hospital. The body of one of them has been handed over. There are 25 bodies in the morgue, 8 bodies in the emergency department morgue of DMCH and 15 bodies in the morgue of Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital.
Sample collection of DNA from relatives has been going on for two days to identify these 48 bodies. A booth has been set up outside the DMCH morgue. There, a team from CID's forensic DNA laboratory is collecting DNA samples from relatives.
As of noon on Sunday, DNA samples from 63 people had been collected to identify 45 bodies.