Mosque blast: HC orders Titas to pay Tk 500,000 each to victims’ families

The High Court has ordered state utility Titas to pay on an emergency basis Tk 500,000 each to the families of the 37 victims of the deadly air-conditioner blasts at a mosque in Narayanganj’s Fatullah.

The court gave the gas transmission and distribution agency seven days to make the payments. It directed the deputy commissioner of Narayangang to distribute the funds among the families.

Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam passed the order after hearing the families’ petition for compensation on Thursday.

It also issued a rule asking why the families should not be paid Tk 500,000 each, reports bdnews24.com.

Supreme Court Advocate Mar-e-Um Khandaker filed the writ petition in the public interest. Advocate Taimur Alam Khandaker argued on behalf of the petitioners in court while Additional Attorney General Murad Reza and Deputy Attorney General Nur-us-Sadik represented the state.

“Twenty-one people had died when the writ petition was filed. Since then, the death toll rose to 26. I filed a supplemental petition taking into account the latest death toll and added a few more respondents. The court subsequently issued an interim order at the end of the hearing,” said Taimur.

However, the state said it will move the Appellate Division with an appeal against the order.

“The matter is still under investigation. Multiple probe panels have been formed to look into it but they are yet to determine the liability. Therefore, this order is akin to imposing liability before the matter is determined. The state will appeal against the order to the Appellate Division,” said AAG Murad.

As many as 28 people have died following the near-simultaneous blasts of six air-conditioners during prayers at the Baitul Salat mosque on Sept 4.

Nine others are battling for their lives at the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery in Dhaka.

Officials and locals blamed gas leaks for the explosion.

The authorities suspect the gas accumulated inside the building caused the blasts which were sparked by an electric short-circuit.

Members of the mosque’s governing body also alleged that Titas officials refused to repair the leaks without the payment of Tk 50,000.

The Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence, state gas transmission and distribution agency Titas and the district administration of Narayanganj have each formed a committee to investigate the explosions.