Even as three arrests were made Tuesday in the investigation into the death of a 10-year-old child-worker in a textile mill in the Dhaka suburb of Rupganj, workers in the area called for better working conditions and justice for the victim.
The death of Sagar Barman on Sunday was allegedly instigated by his coworkers, who forced the hose from an air compressor into the boy’s rectum. The injuries from the air pressure are being cited as the cause of death.
The boy’s father, Ratan Barman, also works at the factory.
It is not yet clear whether the attack on the boy resulted from dislike of his father, or was punishment for the child specifically.
Police officials told WWD that while the owners of the company, Zobeda Textile and Spinning Mill, and its top management had absconded, they rescued more than two dozen child-workers from the factory who were under the legal working age of 18.
The tragedy has once again shown the spotlight on the working conditions in the country’s textile and apparel industries and has led to questions about the number of child workers in Bangladeshi factories.
Officials of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association claimed the apparel industry had changed dramatically over the last decade, with a complete decline in the use of child labor. “This has happened not only with more stringent laws, but also with self-policing and the fact that no brands would buy from companies who were using child labor. It just ensured that the practice changed,” said a factory owner, who requested anonymity.
But as statements from the boy’s father have indicated, factory managers often took disciplinary measures into their own hands. He has accused four factory officials in the death of the boy.