Three youngsters who made history by rescuing the body of 4-year-old Jihad from a 600-feet-deep water pipe minutes after government’s Fire Service abandoned their 23-hour operation declaring non-existence of any body there, were accorded hero’s reception by the Nagorik Okya (Citizen’s Unity) at the National Press Club auditorium on Tuesday.
The three -Shah Md Abdullah Al-Moon, Shafiqul Islam Farukh and Sujan Das Rahul – were very humble and said they never spoke before an audience like the one where they were given reception and declared their achievement was a glory of the whole nation.
They said they would have been more happy had Jahid been rescued alive and conveyed their heartfelt sympathies for Jahid’s parents. The reception for the heroes and condolence of the death of Jihad was organised by the Nagorik Oikya at a short notice.
Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said 16 crore people of Bangladesh were happy at the rare feat of the three youngsters who proved there were real people down the social ladder. When the state machinery failed the young rescuers did not fail the people. With such people in their midst the nation can do the impossible and stand out in the world head high. Four-year-old Jihad had slipped into a 600-feet deep, 16-inch diameter water suction pipe at Shahjahanpur Railway Colony while he was playing with some other children at about 3-30 pm on December 26. Fire Service rushed to the spot and carried out and unsuccessful rescue operation which included monitoring of the pipe’s inside with a powerful movie camera of DWasa, before declaring the non-existence of Jihad’s body there at about 2-30 pm on December 27. After the abandonment of the operation the three youngsters got chance to try their method of rescue and became successful in about 10 minutes. They used an iron-made trap and a nylon net to catch the body of Jihad and drag it out.
But the three youngsters were not allowed to try their method of rescue before the trained people abandoned their 23-hour operation and no less a person than the State Minister for Home Affairs plus the DG of Fire Service and the MD of Dhaka Wasa declared the slipping of Jihad into the well a rumour while the IG of police said his colleagues had ‘friendly questioning’ of Jihad’s father for 12 hours before the body of his son was rescued. Jihad’s father Nasir Fakir alleged he was detained by the police after the state minister had declared non-existence of body of jihad in the well. He said police had threatened him with dire consequences if he failed to produce Jihad before police. Police accused him of hiding the boy somewhere to put the authorities in trouble. He was released after the youngsters recovered the body from the well.
Mahmudur Rahman Manna said, how come these people are still in job? The state minister should have stopped talking out of shame long before. The people want trial of these people for their neglect of duty, inefficiency and irresponsibility, he said. Manna asked why the Shahjahanpur Railway Colony area still remained under strong police guard three days after the rescue to Jihad’s body. All these people should have tendered apology to Jihad’s family. ‘We will go to the family and want to know why they could not come to the condolence meeting,’ he said.
SM Abdullah Al-Moon what they succeeded to achieve was and achievement of all, achievement of the nation. He said, ‘we should look at successes of people not their failures. Fire Service people did a great rescue operation at the Rana Plaza garment building collapse site. In the rescue of Jihad’s body they had limitations, not failure. The camera they used did not see beyond a layer of some jute sticks. We succeeded to recover the body using a cage, he said.
Shafiqul Islam Farukh said the rescue of Jihad’s body was an achievement of the 16 crore people of Bangladesh. ‘I urge the government to make available the latest technologies from the rest of the world for future rescue operations. I deplore we could not rescue Jihad alive. I sympathise with his mother,’ he said.
Sujan Das Rahul said they succeeded to rescue the body with the cooperation of all. ‘We saw an unsafe zone in Shahjahanpur which should be taken care of. Sujan prayed for Jihad’s salvation and the peace of mind of the members of his bereaved family.
Mahmudur Rahman Manna sought to know why state recognition of the three heroes was yet to come. Had they done the work in Europe or America they would by now been known to the whole world, he said.
Eminent advocate of the Supreme Court Dr. Sahdin Malik said the people did not see government’s trained rescuers to work taking risks for saving the life of Jihad, as did the three young men. The government rescuers should take training from these boys, he observed.
Dr. Sahdin Malik also wondered in these days of recruitment, promotion and posting in exchange of bribe it was difficult to be sure if the skilled and efficient people were assigned to do the rescue operation.
Prof. Dilara Chowdhury said the inefficiency was reflective of the lack of sincerity of an unelected government. They have the machines but cannot operate those, she said hoping that bigger mistakes are not committed with costly hardware being imported from abroad. She lamented that Jihad’s father was detained for 12 hours when his wife needed his presence most to cope with the loss of her beloved son.
Narrating the lying about the existence of the body of Jihad in the water pipe, architect Mobasser Hassan said such people could not only lie with the government but also hoodwink it. Cancerous growth of unskilled, inefficient and irresponsible circles is possible only in the absence of democracy and lack of accountability, he added. Architect Mobasser said these youngsters were the freedom fighters of the present generation and should be honoured.- Staff Reporter