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Death of Ratan Miahm 3 May 2007, RK Spinning Mill
Investigation main page

Death of Ratan Miah on 3 May 2007 at RK Spinning Mill where he was electrocuted

The investigation took place in July 2007, two months after the incident.

At the tea stall adjacent to Sidhirganj’s R. K. Spinning Mill, the investigators talked with a mill worker who is a resident of Sidhirganj.

In relation to the incident, he said that Ratan Miah used to work with him as a rod-technician’s helper. On the day of the incident, after going to the Mill at 2 in the afternoon, and on hearing screams, he went to the ‘dark-line’. There he saw Ratan Miah lying on the ground unconscious from an electric shock. Rattan was arranging the electric cables inside the dark-line.  A portion of the electric cable must have developed a short and caused some areas of the ground to become electrically active. When Ratan Miah was rescued from the dark-line, the electric cable was wrapped around his leg and his arms and legs were burnt. He was immediately taken to the Khanpur Hospital in the Mill’s car where the attending doctor declared him dead.

He said that 80 workers from the Mill chipped in to pay Tk.5,000/- to Ratan’s family as compensation. He, however, did not know whether any compensation has been paid from the management of the Mill. He said that Ratan had left behind a wife and a son. They live in Sidhirganj. He also informed them that Ratan had converted from Hinduism to Islam when he was aged 13 years.

Then, after going in front of the Mill situated in Chowdhury Para, the investigators talked with a rod-technician. He informed the investigators that at the time of the incident, Ratan was arranging the electric cables inside the 80 foot long dark-line (which is like a big manhole) located in the ground floor. At that time, Aktar Ali was working in the ground floor. Others, including he himself, were working in the upper floor. Inside the dark-line, there was stagnant water in some areas and these areas became electrically active because there must have been a short in the cable.

On hearing the sudden screams, when he went to the lower floor, he saw that Ratan had been electrocuted. He immediately went upstairs and disconnected the power supply. After that, Ratan was taken to the Khanpur Government Hospital where he died. As a result of the electrocution, one side of his chest had burnt and his eyes were injured when the cable struck them.

He also reported that after Ratan died, 93 of the Mill’s workers all contributed money to give to his wife. At that time, the owner of the Mill Haji Mohd. Abdul Hamid was in Singapore. He learnt about the incident when he came to the Mill one week after the burial and then he assured helping the victim’s family. The victim Ratan’s wife Amena often came to the Mill on reliance of that assurance.

Later, when the investigators talked to Ratan’s wife Amena Begum on the phone, she informed them that on the day of the incident, she went to Khanpur Hospital after she heard about the incident and there she learned from the workers that her husband was electrocuted while working in the Mill. Amena Begum complained that even though the incident occurred at 2:30pm, she was not allowed to enter the hospital until 10pm. She told the investigators that she had met with the Mill’s supervising engineer Babul who had told her that on returning from Singapore, the owner of the Mill would pay her the compensation.

Amena Begum said, “After that, I repeatedly went to the Mill but could not meet Mr Babul. Also, the Mill Management had not given me any money as compensation”.

The investigators subsequently met Ameena at Mijmiji village. She informed them that she has been working as a helper in R. K. Spinning Mill’s blue-room (cotton related work) for the last 5 months. On the day of the incident, she went to her work in the morning and returned home at around 2 in the afternoon. At around 1pm, Ratan Miah had his tiffin and went back to his work at the Mill. Ratan Miah was a rod-technician. At 3pm, she heard the news that her husband had been seriously injured in an accident at the Mill and had been taken to the Khanpur Hospital in Narayanganj. At 3:45 pm, Amena Begum reached Khanpur Hospital but the Mill’s Managing Director Babul did not allow her to enter the hospital. Babul told her “Your husband is healthy. The accident was more serious than the usual, which is why he has been sent to Dhaka Medical College Hospital”.

Amena Begum said, “Mr Babul, Mr Firoz, Mr Kalam and the Mill’s cashier Mojibor Rahman provided transportation for me from Khanpur Hospital to my home in a private car. When they were dropping me off, they made me sign a white paper saying that this would allow collection of my husband’s dead body. After they dropped me in front of my house, my neighbours assisted me and took me inside the house”.

She further said, “I saw Ratan’s dead body for the first time at 10pm in Khanpur Medical Hospital. There were signs of injury on his stomach, it seemed as though his eye-sockets were empty, there was a black mark on his left cheek, his skin had blackened, on his stomach there were black marks and signs of blood clot. There was a sign of injury on his left hand and on his legs, I have seen marks similar to rope burn.”

Amena Begum added that Ratan was a rod-technician and he was not supposed to have been working with electricity. She also informed that after the day of the incident, Mr Firoz (labour manager) had gain the victim’s neighbour Ujir Ali Tk.8,000/- for taking Ratan’s dead body to his village in Motlob, Chandpur. Four days after her husband’s death, Amena Begum went to meet Mr Babul with her brother Shahadat, and technicians Siraj and Mollah.

According to Amena, Babul had said to her “Your husband died and no one had any hand in that. But since you have a young child, you will be given cash money of such an amount so that your child’s future will be secured and you will also be able to survive comfortably. And since you work in our Mill, your pay will be raised. The owner has gone to Singapore for medical treatment and when he returns, he will assist in this matter.”

Amena informed the investigators that she was asked to go to the Mill on several dates and even though she went on the prescribed dates, she did not receive any assistance. Instead, the Mill management did not allow her to enter the Mill Premises on the ground of various excuses. On 15/07/07, Mr Babul summoned her to the Mill and verbally abused her in unspeakable language and he – ‘Go to those people to whom you went for help. We will not give you anything.’ He tried to meet him quite a few times after that but was never successful.

Amena’s brother Shahadat Hossain told the investigators that on the day of the incident he was in Motlob. Amena informed him about the incident. He travelled by launch and arrived at Khanpur Medical Hospital at 8pm. The Mill’s management personnel Mr Firoz, Mr Kalam and the Mill’s cashier Mojibor told him “There is no need for any legal proceedings. Whatever compensation you people want will be paid by the management because the owner is a very good man.”

On 15th May, they were supposed to meet and discuss about compensation but the discussion wad aborted on the excuse that the owner was still in Singapore. On 12/05/07, on hearing that the owner had returned from Singapore, they went to the Mill but were not allowed to enter the premises. The gatekeeper said to them “Go now, come tomorrow in the evening when the owner will be unoccupied”.

When they went to the Mill the next day, the gatekeeper said “Why did you come in the evening? Come tomorrow at 11am”.

The next day, they went to the Mill at 11am and waited for several hours before Mr Kalam came to them and said “Today is Friday, the owner has not come to the Mill”.

They went to the Mill again the next day and the gatekeeper went inside to inform the owner about their arrival but he returned to say that the owner had asked them to return to the Mill on 01/07/07.

When they went to the Mill on 01/07/07, Mr Kalam said that Mr Babul had not come to the factory. In this manner, even though they went to the Mill every day, they could not meet the owner of the Mill. In Shahadat’s opinion, the Mill management has been using different types of excuses to deceive them.

The investigators talked with another family member, Md. Ujir Ali Sardar. He said that “Ratan’s family is now helpless. The management of the Mill did not inform me about Ratan’s accident. I first heard about the accident from the Mill workers. After that when I asked them where Ratan had been taken, I was informed that he was in Dhaka Medical Hospital. Later I heard that Ratan was taken to Khanpur Medical Hospital. At that time no one from the Mill’s Management was present”.

He also reported that at 9pm that day, Firoz, Kalam and Mojibor from the Mill management arrived. They said “Lifespan and death is all in Allah’s hand. You people should not worry.” Then they all assured us they would provide financial assistance to the victim’s family. The owner of the Mill was abroad but they gave Tk.8,000/- for the costs of transporting the dead body to victim’s village and the for the funeral arrangements.

He said that after four days, the owner’s brother-in-law Mr Babul summoned them. After going to the Mill he told us that further steps will be taken after the owner returned from abroad and that the victim’s family would be compensated by being paid a hefty amount. Mr Babul also assured that in addition to the compensation to be paid by the owner, he himself would also financially assist the victim’s family.

He added that, “Even after going to R. K. Spinning Mill for 7 consecutive days, we did not get to meet the owner or Mr Babul and they have also made no attempt to meet us. When we went to the Mill on 12/06/2007, the gatekeeper informed us that they have asked us to go on 01/07/2007 but on that day, when we went to the Mill, no one met us.”

The investigators talked with R. K. Textile Mill’s labour manager Mr Firoz. He told the investigators that the incident took place at R. K. Spinning Mill and so they could talk about the incident to that Mill’s General Manager Akram Hossain.

When asked whether Ratan’s family had been assured financial assistance, Mr Firoz replied, “Ratan Miah was not an employee of the Mill. If he was a permanent worker, then we would have considered the issue of compensation. However, in the interest of humanity, we are keeping this incident under consideration and I will try to discuss about the prospect of financial assistance with the owner.”

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Page last updated on February 4, 2008