Bangladeshi police has arrested two owners of garment factories in the building that collapsed on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka this week killing at least 336 people.
Owners Mahbubur Rahman Tapas and Balzul Samad Adnan are suspected of forcing staff to work in the eight-storey building, ignoring warnings about cracks.
At least 336 people are known to have died after the Rana Plaza in the suburb of Savar collapsed on Wednesday.
On Saturday morning, at least 24 more people were rescued from the rubble.
Rescuers and volunteers, who worked through the night, cheered as they were brought to safety.
Earlier, rescue teams said they had located about 40 survivors on the collapsed third and fifth floors of the building.
Officials said they were working to extricate the remaining survivors and had passed oxygen cylinders and water to those still trapped.
Among those pulled out alive after three days in the rubble was Marina Begum, 22, now recovering in hospital.
Bangladeshi police has arrested two owners of garment factories in the building that collapsed on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka this week killing at least 336 people
“It felt like I was in hell,” she said.
“It was so hot, I could hardly breathe, there was no food or water. When I regained my senses I found myself in this hospital bed.”
More bodies of victims were also retrieved overnight and on Saturday morning.
Some 3,000 people are believed to have been working in the building at the time of the collapse and about 600 are still missing. Rana Plaza housed three garment factories, a bank and a number of shops.
Watching the operation are hundreds of relatives of those still missing, many clutching photographs of their loved ones.
Abul Basar wept as he awaited news of his wife who worked in one of the garment factories.
“My son says that his mother will come back some day, she must return,” he cried.
Mahbubur Rahman Tapas and Balzul Samad Adnan, the owners of the New Wave Bottoms and New Wave Style factories, were remanded in custody for 12 days by a court on Saturday. They were arrested earlier in the day after turning themselves in.
Deputy chief of Dhaka police Shyami Mukherjee said the two were accused of causing “death due to negligence”.
The owners reportedly told their employees to return to work on Wednesday, even though cracks were visible in the building a day earlier.
Three other clothing factories were reportedly operating in the building.
Police are also questioning two municipal engineers who are reported to have approved the safety of the building a day before it collapsed.
The owner of Rana Plaza, Mohammed Sohel Rana, is said to have gone into hiding.
“Those who’re involved, especially the owner who forced the workers to work there, will be punished,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told lawmakers on Friday.
“Wherever he is, he will be found and brought to justice,” the prime minister added.
There is widespread anger in Bangladesh over the disaster and fresh clashes between police and protesters erupted again on Saturday.
On Friday, police used tear-gas and rubber bullets to break up crowds that had blocked roads, set fire to buses and attacked textile factories.
Protesters are demanding that the government arrests all those responsible for the disaster and improves conditions for garment workers.
Police are guarding other garment factories in the area.
Bangladesh has one of the largest garment industries in the world, providing cheap clothing for major Western retailers that benefit from its widespread low-cost labor.
But the industry has been widely criticized for its low pay and limited rights given to workers and for the often dangerous working conditions in garment factories.
Primark, a clothes retailer with a large presence in Britain, confirmed that one of its suppliers was on the second floor of the Rana Plaza, and said it would work with other retailers to review standards.
Labor rights groups say the companies have a moral duty to ensure their suppliers are providing safe conditions for their employees.
UK fashion designer Katharine Hamnett has called on fashion brands to insist on safer working conditions for garment workers internationally.
“The price of clothes may be low but they are paid for with human lives,” she is reported to have said at the Vogue Festival in London on Saturday.
“We should demand credible, certifiable inspections on building structures and industry standards.”
She added: “This is a very dark day for the clothing industry.”
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Communist Party and left-leaning Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal party have called a general strike on May 2 to demand punishment for those found responsible for the deaths.
An eight-storey building collapsed in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, killing at least 70 people and injuring other 200, government officials say.
Many more people are feared trapped after building collapse and frantic efforts are under way to rescue those beneath the debris.
The army is helping with the rescue operation on the outskirts of Dhaka.
Building collapses are common in Bangladesh where many multi-storey blocks are built in violation of rules.
The eight-storey building contained a clothing factory, a bank and several other shops. It collapsed during the morning rush hour.
Many people have gathered near the scene looking for friends and relatives.
It is not yet clear what caused the collapse but local media reports said a crack was detected in the block on Tuesday.
An eight-storey building collapsed in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, killing at least 70 people and injuring other 200
Rescue workers are using concrete cutters and cranes to dig through the rubble.
Local police chief Mohammad Asaduzzaman told the Reuters news agency that factory owners appeared to have ignored a warning not to allow their workers into the building after the crack was detected.
Police told local media that the rear of the building suddenly started to collapse on Wednesday morning and within a short time the whole structure – except the main pillar and parts of the front wall – had caved-in, triggering panic.
Only the ground floor of the Rana Plaza in Sava remained intact after the collapse, officials said, as army and fire service rescuers equipped with concrete cutters and cranes dug through rubble to pull out trapped people. Many onlookers also joined the effort using their bare hands.
Survivors have described their terror as the collapse began.
“I was in the cutting section of the garment factory and suddenly we heard a huge noise and the building collapsed within a few minutes,” a garment worker told private Somoy TV.
“I removed the rubble and came out with two other workers. But at least 30 other workers in my cutting section were still unaccounted for,” he said.
In November, a fire at a garment factory in a Dhaka suburb killed at least 110 people and triggered a public outcry about safety standards in the industry.
The last major building collapse was in 2010, when a four-storey building collapsed in Dhaka killing at least 25 people and injuring several others.
Bangladesh has one of the largest garment industries in the world, providing competitively priced clothes for major Western retailers which benefit from its widespread low-cost labor.
Following November’s fire, Western retail chains who buy from factories in Bangladesh urged factory owners to improve safety standards.
Moslemuddin Sarkar, a Bangladeshi man who went missing for 23 years, has been reunited with his family, who had given him up for dead.
Moslemuddin Sarkar, 52, arrived back in Dhaka on Tuesday, a day after being freed from a Pakistani jail with the help of the Red Cross.
His family lost contact after Moslemuddin Sarkar left for India in search of work in 1989. Years later, he ended up in Pakistan, where he was arrested.
Moslemuddin Sarkar says he was beaten and tortured in his subsequent 15 years in prison.
“I requested that embassy officials send me back to Bangladesh but no one listened to me,” he said.
“I suffered a lot in the prison and was crying for help. But no-one came to my rescue. Still I don’t understand why I was kept in jail for such a long time. At last, I am back with my family and I feel great.”
Moslemuddin Sarkar, a Bangladeshi man who went missing for 23 years, has been reunited with his family, who had given him up for dead
There were emotional scenes when Moslemuddin Sarkar was welcomed by relatives at Dhaka airport.
A younger brother, Julhas Uddin, told the AFP news agency that Moslemuddin Sarkar’s mother “passed out as he hugged her” after returning to his home village.
“It was a heartbreaking scene. He could not control his tears for hours,” Julhas Uddin said.
A dockworker at the port of Chittagong, Moslemuddin Sarkar says he illegally crossed the border to India in 1989 in search of better opportunities, without telling his family.
“We searched for him for years and finally gave up hope believing he might have drowned in the sea. But our mother always believed that her son would return home one day,” Julhas Uddin said.
In 1997, Moslemuddin Sarkar was caught trying to enter Pakistan without valid travel documents, spending the next 15 years in prisons in Lahore and Karachi. He said he was completely cut off from the world during that time.
“I went to Pakistan believing that I would get a better job there. But they caught me at the border,” he told AFP.
“I wrote dozens of letters to my village address, but did not have any clue that they were never posted. At one stage I lost all hope of returning home.”
His fate reportedly came to light when Pakistan sent a list of long-serving Bangladeshi prisoners to consular officials, who informed Moslemuddin Sarkar’s family. They in turn appealed to the International Committee of the Red Cross, who facilitated his release.
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