As workers and survivors of the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh heard about the charge sheet accusing 18 people this week, including Sohel Rana, the principal of the factory, they hurried to share the news with their colleagues.
“Nothing can bring back my sister who lost her life in the building,” Hafeeza Begum told WWD. “But at least we can believe that there is some justice.”
Workers had been agitating and calling for the arrest and indictment of the owners of the eight story building, which collapsed in April 2013 taking the lives of more than 1,130 garment workers. Rescue workers dug into the debris for weeks to recover bodies of the workers of the five garment factories that were located in the building and to look for survivors.
The charge sheet for 18 people accused for their alleged involvement in construction irregularities was approved by the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission on Wednesday, putting an end to the controversy about the addition of Rana’s name.
Mohammed Shahabuddin of the Anti-Corruption Commission said that Rana’s name had been added for his alleged involvement in tampering with the construction of the building.
Although both of Rana’s parents, Abdul Khalek and Morjina Begum, were included, Rana’s name was not found on official documents, officials said, prompting them to leave it out in previous inquiries. On Tuesday, Rana was included and accused of “unbridled irregularities.”
Worker outrage and anger against Rana as well as the owners of the five garment companies that were housed in the building was fueled by the fact that cracks had been noticed in the building the previous day before the collapse, yet workers were ordered to report for work. According to government officials, the collective weight of the generators situated on top of the building caused the cracks to give way, leading to complete collapse.
A subsequent report issued by the government soon after the incident recommended that the building owner and management be “prosecuted under section 304 and section 34” of the Bangladesh penal code, describing their role as “culpable homicide.” The report by the Home Ministry cited “low-quality construction materials, use of black money in the illegal construction and approval process, building codes not being followed, establishing a garments factory on top of a market complex, and the building was loaded with vibrant machineries and the garment workers were forced to enter the hazardous structure,” as part of the reasons for the collapse.
Immediately after the incident, Rana had disappeared and the police tracked him near the India border. He has been under arrest since.
Refayet Ullah, the municipal mayor in Savar, a suburb of Dhaka where the building was located, was also named for giving clearance to Rana Plaza to be built up to 10 floors. According to government officials, the mayor was only allowed to authorize buildings up to six floors.
Rana Plaza had eight floors and was built on swamp land, making the foundations of the building unstable.
Three owners of the garment factories in the building, including Mohammad Aminul Islam, chairman, Phantom Apparels Ltd. chairman; Bazlus Samad, managing director, New Wave Bottom Ltd., and Azizur Rahman, chairman, Ether Tex Ltd. were also named.
Others in the charge sheet include Masud Reza, architect; Sajjad Hossain, engineer; Morzina Khan, former secretary of Savar municipality; Abul Bashar, former secretary, and Abdul Motalib, license inspector.
Other engineers and their assistants — Uttam Kumar Roy, Rafiqul Islam, Mahbubur Rahman, Rakibul Hasan Russel and Farzana Islam, who was the town planner for Savar — are also included.
This charge sheet follows a precedent set by the charge sheet against 13 people for the Tazreen Fashions factory fire in November 2012, when 112 people were killed. The charge sheet was filed a little more than a year later, in December 2013.
Until then, worker leaders told WWD that there was little chance of owners of buildings and factories to be indicted as they were often well connected, and sometimes held party posts themselves.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye