B’desh HC orders state-owned firm to compensate mosque blast victims

The High Court of Bangladesh has ordered the state-owned Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited to pay Tk5 lakh as compensation to the families of the Narayanganj mosque blast victims.

At least 29 people were killed in the September 4 blasts at the Baitus Salat Jame Masjid at Fatullah which took place after six air conditioners exploded during prayers.

A High Court bench of Justices JBM Hasan and M. Khairul Alam passed the order asking Titas to submit the money to the district’s deputy commission within the next seven days.

Then the deputy commissioner will distribute the money among the families of the victims.

The court also said that Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk), Dhaka Power Distribution Company Ltd (DPDC), Titas and the mosque committee can not evade their responsibilities in the tragic incident.

Earlier, a writ petition was filed with the High Court seeking Tk50 lakh compensation for the victims’ families.

Eight people are still fighting for their lives after suffering serious burns.

Meanwhile, a Titas investigating committee has found six leaks in the damaged area at the mosque’s extended part, which is illegal.

The fire service official found heavy presence of gas in the mosque even hours after the accident as there were at least five to seven leakages in the gas pipeline that passed beneath the mosque.

The mosque’s building was a tin-shed structure in the 1990s and it was turned into a brick building in 2000. Gradually its first two floors were completed and the work to construct the third floor has been going on.

The gas pipeline had been under the floor of the mosque all these years.

During construction of the extension of the mosque, the underground gas pipeline’s wrapping was damaged which leaked resulted in gas leak.

Moreover, there was no approval from relevant authorities to extend the mosque.

On Monday, Titas suspended eight of their officials and staff amid allegations of mismanagement in gas supply line maintenance that led to the leakages and the blasts.

The probe committee will submit its findings on Thursday.