Slum razed to ashes in Chattogram, residents fear foul play

Humayun Masud, Chattogram
Published : 01:00, Feb 05, 2020 | Updated : 01:00, Feb 05, 2020

On Monday (Feb 3), a devastating fire gutted the slum in Madarbari, Chattogram. In minutes, the whole area was razed to ashes.
People have lost their possessions while many lost money kept in their homes.
Zakia Begum, who lost Tk 310,000, said: “I kept the money for the marriage of my daughter, the fire has destroyed everything. The only savings I had is gone.”
Many residents feel that the fire was started on purpose. Monir Hossain, a resident, claims: “The fire was started when everyone was asleep and at that time no stove was alight; there is foul play involved.”
Locals say that forty years ago, the owner of Jalil Textiles, Abdul Jalil, leased the areas from the government and there was a dispute between him and the authority over the land. The issue went to court and the law gave a verdict on behalf of Jalil Chowdhury.
The railway authority appealed and nine months ago, the court overturned the previous decision and sided with the government.
Then, Jalil Chowdhury left the area.
Deputy Director of Agrabad station of the fire service, Farid Ahmed, said: “We are not certain about the source of fire but are looking into it. There may be sabotage or it may just be an accident; most shacks were made of polythene, bamboo and tin so the fire spread quickly engulfing the whole area.”