Jatiya Oikyafront leaders at a condolence meeting yesterday asked the government to step down for its “negligence in duties” over the Chawkbazar fire that claimed at least 69 lives.
Mourning last week's horrific incident in Old Dhaka, they extended condolence towards the bereaved family members and prayed for salvation and eternal peace of the departed souls.
Gonoforum, a component of the Oikyafront, the major opposition alliance, organised the meeting at Jatiya Press Club in the capital.
The High Court issued some recommendations following almost the same type of fire that took place in Nimtoli in 2010, but none of those were implemented, said Gonoforum President Dr Kamal Hossain.
“Why were they not implemented? Why such tragedy recurred? People want to know,” he said, adding that the government is not supposed to be “irresponsible” as its duty is to ensure citizens' security.
“We want answers [from the government]… What did they do in the last nine years? People want justice,” said Dr Kamal, a top leader of Oikyafront.
Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) President ASM Abdur Rob said the incident occurred “due to the irresponsibility of the government, although the almighty Allah decides people's fate.”
“It wasn't a [simple] accident. I would say that people were killed due to negligence in duty… You [the government] should step down immediately,” said Rob.
Speaking at the meeting, Nagorik Oikya Convenor Mahmudur Rahman Manna alleged that the former industries ministers took bribe from the chemical traders of old town.
As a result, chemical warehouses were not relocated, he observed.
“You [ministers] did not consider the dangers of chemical warehouses in residential areas. Money has become more important to you!” Manna claimed.
Expressing condolence, he urged people to be resolute and stage protests.
Manna also alleged that Sunday's attempt of “hijacking” a plane by a youth was staged by the government.
Gonoshasthaya Kendra Founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, BNP standing committee member Abdul Moeen Khan and Gonoforum General Secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu, among others, spoke at the programme.