‘Temptation for money ruined us’: Bihar mourns its sons killed in Delhi fire tragedy

The families of those killed in the fire tragedy are blaming the owner for their loss. Of the 43 people who were killed in Sunday’s fire tragedy, 28 were from Bihar.
A woman carries a child as she walks past the spot where fire broke out in a factory in New Delhi on Sunday.(PTI Photo)
A woman carries a child as she walks past the spot where fire broke out in a factory in New Delhi on Sunday.(PTI Photo)
Updated on Dec 09, 2019 06:07 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Saharsa/Darbhanga | By Aditya Nath Jha & Bishnu K Jha

An eerie silence has gripped Nariyar village in Bihar’s Saharsa district. Seven people from this village lost their lives in the massive fire in a Delhi factory on Sunday which killed 43 people.

The agonising wait for families to get the bodies of their relatives is adding to their grief. Due to procedural formalities, the bodies of these victims could not reach their respective villages on Monday; they are now likely to reach their destinations only by Tuesday.

“Eight people - seven of Nariyar and one of Nauhatta village - were killed in tragedy. We are arranging to bring their bodies back to their families,” said Saharsa sub-divisional officer (SDO) Shambhu Nath Jha.

Seventy-year-old Md Sattar’s world has turned upside down. He lost his two sons - 24-year-old Md Mubarak and 22-year-old Md Gyasuddin - in the fire tragedy. “Both my sons were working in the jacket factory... the factory owner killed my sons,” he said with tears in his eyes.

Md Sattar alleged that the owner used to keep his sons locked inside the building which caught fire.

“We committed blunder by placing our reliance on Md Jubair,” said Md Khursheed Alam crying. He lost his 18-year-old son Md Faizal in the factory fire on Sunday. He remembers his son was taken away by Jubair - a pointsman of the owner who recruited people to work in the factory - when he was just 13.

The villagers say Jubair is the main culprit for loss of lives. A resident of Nariyar village of Saharsa, Jubair took youth of his village to work in his factory five years ago. Mostly from poor economic background and living in houses built of bricks with tin roofs, these families say they fell in trap of Jubair, who promised a handsome perk.

While Jubair lived with his family in Delhi, his father Hasan Imam has to face the ire of villagers.

Md Wasim, who lost his 50-year-old father Md Shamim in the fire tragedy said, “Our father also worked in jacket factory and used to send money to support the family of five children.” Wasim remembers his father was a little hesitant in going to New Delhi, but Imam insisted.

Another bereaved family is blaming the owner for the incident. “Had the room not been locked from outside, my son and others would have survived,” said Md Khursheed Alam whose son died in the tragedy.

He burst into tears while recalling his son’s last phone call when he was trapped in fire. “My son continued to call me till he was burnt to death, I was here helpless,” he said.

Villagers alleged that several contractors known to Jubair could be seen roaming in the village giving them false assurance of becoming rich and once they fall into their trap, it’s not easy to come out of it.

“They took our sons to Delhi and later they were kept like slaves with no freedom to move anywhere. They had to spend their lives under strict surveillance,” said another villager Md Sattar.

En masse migration has been a big problem in Seemanchal and Kosi regions of Bihar. Villages look deserted most of the time in a year due to continuous migration from the villages.

When the news of fire tragedy spread, there were only women and elderly in the village. “Most of the youth leave village even when they are teenagers,” said Md Khursheed Alam. “Our temptation for money has ruined us,” Md Sattar said, adding, “I would never tell anyone to go to other provinces.”

Of the 43 people who were killed in Sunday’s fire tragedy, 28 were from Bihar. At least 11 people from Samastipur, nine from Saharsa and one from Araria were killed in Sunday’s fire tragedy.

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Saturday, October 23, 2021