Mohammed Sohel Rana, the fugitive owner of the collapsed building in Bangladesh has been arrested by commandos. The man was trying to flee the country when he was caught on the Western Bangladesh border with India.
The news of his arrest was announced over megaphones at the site of destruction where the death toll has climbed to 378. The devastated people cheered and applauded on hearing that Rana was finally caught and could not escape the country.
The people who died in the collapse of the building, known as Rana Plaza, were mostly workers who were told to join the morning shift at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, even though the building had started to crack the day before. The building housed five government factories, some shops as well as a bank.
Rana fled the site as soon as the whole structure collapsed. The man probably knew that his misjudgment and neglect had caused the massive loss of life which is being regarded as the worst disaster to hit the $20 billion garment industry of Bangladesh. Before Rana, three factory owners and two government engineers had been arrested following the unfortunate incident.
The fugitive owner is being held responsible for the collapse for many reasons. The first and foremost is the construction of the building which was illegal to begin with. Rana illegally constructed an eight-story plaza when according to law he was allowed to build only five floors. The man was able to run the plaza smoothly despite of the fact that there was no maintenance for the huge structure and safety precautions for the workers because he is considered as a really strong and influential figure in Bangladesh politics.
Mohammed Sohel Rana is regarded as a ‘neighborhood political force’ who enjoys connections and favors from Awami League and Bangladesh National Party. Since he has money and strong political affiliations with strong political parties, everyone in his area, including the industrial suburb Savar where the building collapsed, fears Rana and is intimidated by him. This is the main reason why no one ever stopped him or kept a check on him regarding the structure of the building. Not even from the government. And as a result, dozens of workers, mostly from lower middle class backgrounds, lost their lives.
And what’s worse, the man tried to escape accountability after the disaster. No wonder the affected families gave a sigh of relief and broke out in cheers after the man was arrested.
Hundreds of families have been destroyed after the devastation of Rana Plaza. Authorities are busy in rescuing people from the crumbled nine-story building but according to news sources, hope for survivors under the rubble faded with more than 900 people still counted as missing. Fears grew that the death toll could rise far beyond the latest figure of 363.
Whether or not Mohammed Sohel Rana will be held on trial for his lack of compliance with law and escaping the country after the incident, still remains to be seen.