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TRAGEDY: Bangladesh factory owner charged with murder after 52 die in fire

Police in Bangladesh have arrested on murder charges the owner of a factory where at least 52 people died in a massive fire, as it emerged that children as young as 11 had been working there, Aljazeera News reports

Four of the owner’s sons were also among the eight people detained on Saturday over the inferno that broke out on Thursday and raged for more than a day. A separate inquiry has been launched into the use of child labour at the facility.

Emergency services told Al Jazeera they had recovered 49 of the bodies at the Hashem Food and Beverage factory in Rupganj, an industrial town 25km (15 miles) east of the capital, Dhaka. Three people also died after jumping out of the building.

The charred victims were piled in a fleet of ambulances and taken to mortuaries amid anguished shouts and tears from people watching in the streets.

Jayedul Alam, police chief for Narayanganj district where the factory is located, said the entrance had been padlocked at the time of the blaze and the factory breached multiple fire and safety regulations.

“It was a deliberate murder,” the police chief told the AFP news agency.

A fire services spokesman also said the exit door to the main staircase had been padlocked. Highly flammable chemicals and plastics had also been stored in the building.

Al Jazeera’s Tanvir Chowdhury, reporting from outside the factory in Rupganj, said authorities had moved swiftly, noting that it usually takes “several days or weeks” before arrests are made.

“The Rupganj police have filed a murder case against them,” Chowdhury said, referring to those in custody.

Authorities said the rescue operation was over. However, Chowdhury said, some employees were still missing, according to their relatives.

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