Sabotage results in factory fire

Main Uddin Khandaker accused the owner of the Tazreen factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Delwar Hossain, of severe negligence. Though there is no evidence of arson, Khandaker plans to reccommend action against Hossain. Photo used with permission from Associate Press

Main Uddin Khandaker accused the owner of the Tazreen factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Delwar Hossain, of severe negligence. Though there is no evidence of arson, Khandaker plans to reccommend action against Hossain. Photo used with permission from Associate Press

Atreyo Ghosh

Main Uddin Khandaker accused the owner of the Tazreen factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Delwar Hossain, of severe negligence. Though there is no evidence of arson, Khandaker plans to reccommend action against Hossain. Photo used with permission from Associate Press
Main Uddin Khandaker accused the owner of the Tazreen factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Delwar Hossain, of severe negligence after the building went up in flames on Nov. 24.  Khandaker plans to reccommend action against Hossain. Photo used with permission from Associate Press

The factory fire in Dhaka, Bangladesh that killed more than 100 workers is an act of sabotage, according to the head of an inquiry into the fire. Main Uddin Khandaker, who conducted the inquiry, said the owner of the Tazreen factory, Delwar Hossain, was guilty of “severe negligence.”

Despite the evidence of arson, Khandaker said the inquiry would recommend action against Hossain.

“The owner of the factory could not avoid the responsibility,” Khandaker said to the BBC, “and he committed severe negligence by which such type of death happened.”

The fire happened Nov. 24 in the Ashulia district on Dhaka’s outskirts. Nine middle-level officials at the factory prevented employees from leaving when the fire started and padlocked doors. The identity of the arsonist is unknown. Hossain previously denied allegations that the factory was unsafe. While low-quality electrical wiring had caused similar fires, Hossain told reporters immediately after the disaster that he believed someone deliberately started it.

The factory produces clothing for Western retailers such as Walmart, C&A and The Edinburgh Woollen Mill. Bangladesh is the world’s second-largest exporter of finished clothing products. Western companies insist they import clothes only from factories that comply with safety standards. The Tazreen factory did not meet safety standards in regard to fire safety and building size, the BBC reported.

“I didn’t know about this, and I think it’s quite a controversy now that I do know,” senior Nick Godas said. “People’s innocent lives shouldn’t be put at risk because Walmart or any other company wants to make more of a profit by having people in unsafe conditions.
By Atreyo Ghosh
Additional reporting by Luke Wyrick