Child PM Cried Over Was Not an Arson Victim but Injured by Candle Fire

Hasina Burns Unit

Riku Amir: The place of the incident is recorded as T.A. road, Brahmanbaria at Dhaka Medical College (DMC) Burns Unit. The date of admission to hospital is 1 January 2015. The main subject: political violence. The means of violence is two: hurling fire bombs and exploding fire bombs. But there is no relation between this information and reality.

This patient is two and half year old Jui Begum from Harispur village, Bijoynagar Sub district, Brahmanbaria. She is undergoing treatment at DMC Burns Unit with 5% burn injury. The child drew every one’s attention when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wept, overwhelmed with emotion, while visiting the Burns Unit.

What happened? Where did it occur? When did it take place? Why was she shown as a burn injured victim of hartal and blockade? What did the Burn Unit management do? What did the government monitoring agencies do to verify the list of 63 victims of arson prepared by the Burn Unit management? carried out a detailed field investigation to find out the answers of the questions. And our information was completely opposite to that of the hospital’s information.

From the field report it was found that the child’s pregnant mother went to the bathroom keeping the girl alone in the room with a lit candle. After returning she found the girl screaming with fire on her body. Later with the help of neighbours she was brought to Haraspur subdistrict health complex. But as her condition was critical she was transferred to Brahamanbaria District hospital and later to the Burns Unit of DMC on February 2nd. Her father George Miah was not home at the time of the incident.

This information was gathered from George Miah’s neighbours, Shahid Sirazi, Abdur Rab officer of Bijoy Nogor police station and Haraspur union chairman MD. Shahjahan Miah.

Abdur Rab said there is no incident of political violence at Bijoy Nogor. Jui’s news also came to us and through investigation we were assured it was case of burns from candle fire.

Md. Shahjahan said everyone from the village knows she was burnt from fire of candle. Nothing happened to this union because of the current political violence. A street procession wasn’t even held, so no question of fire bomb explosion arises. Neighbour, Shahid Sirazi, also stated the same.

The child underwent an operation on February 2nd. Later she was placed in the post-operative room beside the Intensive Care Unit. Her grandmother Helena Begum is looking after her there. Her mother wasn’t there as she is pregnant and her father isn’t there as he is not in a sound state of mind.

Amader Somoy spoke directly with Jui’s grandmother. Asked about the incident she stated she doesn’t know anything. Later she said Jui was going to someplace with her parents by bus at Brahmanbaria, and a fire bomb was hurled at the bus. Again she said, “I don’t know anything. Don’t ask me any further.”

She said she was informed that Jui was burnt at her village abode Harispur, and bought to DMC Burn Units from Brahmanbaria district health complex. She said her younger son Mahim bought her. On the other hand, Mahim said it was his mother Helena who brought Jui to the Burns Unit.

But why was she shown as burnt injured victim of hartal-blockade? Mahim who works at a workshop in Sylhet informed Amader Somoy that he came to visit after few days. Jui was brought to the Burns Unit and came to know that a CNG Auto Rickshaw driver from Dhaka advised to do so. The driver said she can’t have a place at Burns Unit unless she is a victim of hartal and blockade. On the other hand Haraspur village people said some from the village advised them to claim as burn victim of hartal and blockades so that Prime Minister will give them money. And they acted accordingly. Jui’s grandmother said she knows nothing about such.

Meanwhile we spoke with Mahim over cell phone on February 7th after we spoke with Jui’s grandmother. On the same evening, our correspondent spoke with another uncle of Jui, Baccu Mia who lives in Saudi Arabia, over telephone. Even though he denied at first, he later admitted that Jui is a victim of candle fire.

Amader Somoy couldn’t find anyone at Jui’s village residence on Thursday. The doors were locked. Neighbors informed that they are quite well off financially. Her father is a farmer. Beside Baccu Mia another uncle of Jui, Sacchu Mia also lives in Saudi Arabia. George Mia is third among all the brothers. They all live together at a joint family. 

Burns Unit stated they only write patients name, address and type of burn. But not about place and time of occurrence. But as a case of hartal and blockade they do collect some additional information but do not verify it. Same was done in Jui’s case.

An anonymous doctor from Burns Unit said he was informed that the girl was wounded from a cocktail explosion. “But there was no such symptom. There was no wound from splinter. Again it was claimed that her burns were caused by a fire bomb. And at that time I grew suspicious. But didn’t verify it out of fear. I thought if I was wrong I will be in trouble.”

Burns Unit resident surgeon, Shankar Pal, said “it is not our responsibility to investigate how the patient was burnt or where they were burnt. We only write what the patient informs us and give treatment. We only provided data as it was instructed from the Prime Minister Office. The final list was made by various government organisations.”

The Prime Minister visited victims of petrol bomb attack during hartal and blockade on Wednesday. There she handed over family saving certificates of BDT1,000,000 to 63 burn victims’ families. Jui’s family is also included in that list. Hospital authorities informed that listing of more victims of hartal and blockade is underway.

Special note: Donations given by the Prime Minister to the families at Burns Unit are victims of hartal and blockade violence, except for Jui’s family. We are not trying to prevent financial donation given to these poor families. We only want to present the truth founded by the reporters who investigated the matter. This report doesn’t indicate that there is not a huge numbers of arson patient present at the Burns Unit.
Parents of the child or someone else took help from the Prime Minister through wrong information. They also have the right to seek help. We are sympathetic to this child’s distress.

Brahmanbaria reporter, Farhadul Islam Parvez, helped to prepare the report.
Editing: Rashid

Source: Amader Shomoy