Bubbly little boy turns immobile while playing in front of under-construction house
Six-year-old Maruf used to frolic and keep everyone busy around him all the time. But not anymore.
He now lies paralysed on a bed at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, as his skull has been damaged when some bricks fell on his head from an under construction building at East Rampura in the capital.
The incident on January 24 also killed four-year-old Tawhid Hossain.
The two from a nearby slum were playing in front of the under construction building whose owner did not take adequate safety measures, locals said.
Maruf can neither speak nor move his limbs. He can only give a blank look that can pierce one’s heart.
He lost his father before his birth. His maternal grandparents married off his mother again right after she stopped breast-feeding Maruf. Since then, he is brought up by his grandparents.
Tears were rolling down over his cheeks and his lips were stirring to make sounds in vain when this correspondent went to visit him on Monday. His elderly grandparents keep vigil by his bed by rotation.
Rustom, Maruf’s rickshaw puller grandfather, said: “The building owner gave me only Tk 5,500 for the treatment over the last 15 days. He assured me that he would come to the hospital to talk to the doctors and arrange treatment. But he never came.”
Rustom pleads the house owner Lutfur Rahman Babu Bhuyan for arranging Maruf’s treatment everyday but that has fallen on a deaf ear.
On many occasions, nobody opened the gate when Hasina, Maruf’s grandmother, went to meet the house owner. If she was lucky enough to get hold of him near the gate after waiting for hours, he promised to come to the hospital but did not.
Lutfur, an advocate, also forbade filing any cases, said Hasina.
“I cannot work since the accident but I have to buy injections and medicines everyday. I have no money,” said Rustum.
Maruf now lives on liquid.
The duty doctor at DMCH said the child needs to undergo a critical surgical operation.
Most of his body parts became paralysed, he said, adding that it cannot be ascertained before operation if the six-year-old will get back to normal.
As of Monday, the extension work of the five-storey building was going on.
Though next to the building is a densely populated slum, the owner set no safety net to prevent falling of construction materials even after such an accident.
According to the Bangladesh National Building Code, the authorities concerned must ensure safety measures around the construction site.
Nobody opened the gate, despite repeated attempts for Lutfur’s comment.
At one stage, some unruly people asked this reporter to leave the area. They said it was an accident and they have settled the matter, and there is nothing to report on this.