At least six people, including five teenage boys, were killed and several others were injured in a landslide at Kanaighat in Sylhet on Tuesday morning, when they were extracting underground stones from a hillock in the area.
The deceased are Zakir Hossain, 15, son of Yunus Miah, Nahid Ahmad, 13, and his younger brother Shakil Ahmad, 12, sons of Almas Miah, Maruf Ahmad, 13, son of Mosabbir Ali, Abdul Kadir, 13, son of Zainuddin, and Sundar Ali, 35, residents of village Chndala Konapara under Lakkhiprasad-Purba union of Kanaighat upazila.
The teenager victims were students of Daukergol Nesarul Quran Hafizia Madrassah in the area, police said.
Local people said that the incident took place about
6:30am while around 15 people were lifting underground stones illegally from Banglatila, a hillock near the River Lobhachhara.
A huge chunk of earth of the hillock collapsed on the victims, leaving the six buried and others injured.
Kanaighat police officer-in-charge Abdul Ahad said that the police, in association with a fire service team and local people, recovered the bodies and rescued the injured.
Of the injured, Mahfuz Alam, 12, son of Nur Uddin of village Chandala Konapara, was admitted to Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital.
The rescue operation ended about 4:30pm, the police officer said, adding that the police took the bodies to Kanaighat Police Station for preparing spot examination reports and then sent those to SOMCH morgue for post-mortem examinations.
A former member of the local union council, seeking anonymity, told New Age that around 2,800 people, including some 300 child workers, extract stones from Banglatila and the bank of the River Lobhachhara and its adjacent areas every day.
‘Most of them are residents of the Chandala area near the hillock. A syndicate of local influential people controls the illegal stone trading and employ the workers for extracting underground stones violating the government order,’ the former UC member said.
Local union council chairman Fayaz Uddin claimed that the victims of the Tuesday’s incident were not regular workers of the stone quarry.
‘They went there to earn some extra money for spending in the annual religious gathering of their madrassah,’ he added.
Sylhet additional deputy commissioner Devajit Singha told New Age that a three-member committee, led by additional deputy commissioner (revenue) Syed Aminur Rahman, was formed to investigate the incident.
‘The other members of the committee are additional district magistrate Mohammad Abdullah and assistant commissioner Kazi Arifur Rahman. The committee has been asked to submit its report within three working days,’ Devajit said.
Sylhet additional deputy commissioner Shamsul Islam Sarker said that the police administration also formed a three-member committee, headed by the district police additional superintendent Abul Hasnat Khan, to look into the incident.
The committee was given five working days to submit its report, he added.
Earlier this year, at least seven incidents of landslide took place at Goainghat and Companiganj upazila in Sylhet, in a span of 52 days from January 23 to March 16, leaving at least 17 stone quarry workers dead.
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