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A little help saves his life

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Maruf along with four minor boys was playing near an under construction building of Babu Bhuiyan at East Rampura in  Dhaka city at about 10:00am on January 24, 2011. At one stage of playing, some 9/10 bricks of the under construction wall fell on them leaving Touhid dead instantly and two others, including Maruf, injured. Maruf was rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) with an unconscious state.

Based on a report on the casualties published in the daily Prothom Alo on the following day, a team of Safety and Rights visited 35-B ward of DMCH at about 11:30am on January 27, 2011. The team found that the five-year-old boy, Maruf, son of Sayeed and Salma Begum, was laying on the bed with much ignorance, as the state-run hospital did not carry out the major surgery required for Maruf.

During the visit, it was also found that Maruf could not talk, and even not move on the bed as he became paralysed due to the accident. On a DMCH document, the doctor commented: “trauma to head by fall of bricks over head.”

Talking to Safety and Rights, Maruf’s mother Salma Begum at DMCH described the incident and said that her son Maruf was staying in her father’s house as she married another person after the death of Maruf's father Sayeed. Salma’s father looked after the baby boy but he could not afford all the things for Maruf as he was a rickshaw puller.

The Safety and Rights team also came to know that even the attendants [mother, grand father and grand mother of Maruf] were passing their days without food or minimum food at the hospital as the earning of the rickshaw puller was stopped after the accident. They could not also buy medicines required for the baby’s treatment.

Salma said that building owner Babu Bhuiyan assured her of giving all medical cost and till the visiting day, the building owner only gave her Tk 4,500 as medical cost and requested them not to file any case.

But the amount was very less than the required cost. So, Safety and Rights informed the matter to the journalists with providing them necessary information about Maruf. Later, the country’s leading English newspaper The Daily Star ran a report headlined “Cruel twist of fate” on February 9, 2011. The story was about Maruf that drew attention to many readers from home and abroad. [see original report] ATN Bangla also aired a report on the fate of Maruf.

One from USA posted a comment on The Daily Star story and expressed his egarness to bear the medical cost. Safety and Rights officials contacted with the Bangladeshi man who later sent some money for the treatment of Maruf.

Based on the money, Safety and Rights looked after the matter of Maruf and admitted him to CRP in Savar after his surgery at DMCH. Maruf regained after a month long treatment there.

Now Maruf can walk and talk and play with his mates like other babies.

About Safety:

Talking to fish trader Israfil, father of Touhid who was killed in the accident, told the Safety and Rights team at Rampura that he earlier verbally requested the house owner not to continue the construction work without setting up safety net as their children and other family members used to play there or move around. But the owner did not pay heed to their request, he added.

He said the owner was doing the construction work under his own supervision without taking any permission from the authorities concerned. Israfil filed a criminal case with Rampura Police Station accusing the building owner in connection with death of his son following the accident.

The under construction wall collapsed and its concrete materials fell down on the premises where the victims' families lived and used for passage. But the building owner did not make any fence, use any safety net, canopies or hang warning messages as per the Bangladesh National Building Code, 2006.

Source: Case documents and interview of victims’ relatives