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An accident is an unforeseen, unimaginable, and sudden event. But when certain events occur repeatedly for similar reasons, which are linked to systems or structures or regulatory practices, they are no longer accidental or unforeseen, are no longer unforeseen accidents, and those become the result of managerial or structural negligence. The incidents in which many people- often minor-are injured and killed in their workplaces in Bangladesh regularly, are caused by the whims of different individuals or due to the structure and regulation of the safety and precautionary system and its various inherent problems. It is questionable whether these incidents can be called mere accidents or not.

Amid the pandemic, on July 9th, 2021, a fire in Hashem Foods Factory killed 52 workers in Bangladesh. The visuals were not something new, and the following news of relatives showing passport-size photos to the media to know the whereabouts of the dead workers was not foreign to the citizens of this country as well. The faces of those passport-size photos look familiar- many of them were as young as 14- like we have seen them many times before. We have seen the same scene many times in the recent past. These faces seen in the LED screens became synonymous with institutional murders due to negligence and the denial of justice history in Bangladesh. 

Any responsible authority must eliminate the preconditions and underlying causes of accidents so that accidents do not occur. And if an accident does occur due to any reason, a proper investigation should be done to uncover the reasons behind it, and appropriate corrective measures should be taken so that such accidents do not happen again in the future. Accidents happen one after another in Bangladesh - road-ship-railway, workplace, fire, chemical explosion, people are killed and injured in various ways, and life and nature are endangered, but effective measures are not taken, civil society and other government agencies are virtually reluctant about preventing those accidents, identifying the various preconditions and underlying causes of the accidents. One or more inquiry committees are routinely constituted after an accident. In most cases, those investigation reports are not published. Although published, the recommendations of the inquiry committee are not implemented. Even in the investigation, many times the fundamental facts are not revealed due to various personal and clannish interests, as a result, real solutions to the problems are not found. Punitive actions are not taken against the persons found guilty in the investigation. In many cases, there is no compensation or accountability for the loss of life and property due to accidents, and if the compensation is paid- guilty institutions often find them in a comfortable position by paying 2 Lakhs Taka (2000$ approx.) for each dead body.  Due to these reasons, similar repetitive accidents indicate the dominance of structural preconditions behind most of the accidents in Bangladesh. The present body of work is an attempt to reconsider the structural preconditions of these accidents by portraying one of the accidents that have occurred in Bangladesh in recent times

Work in progress 
Photographs, 2021-2023

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Debashish Chakrabarty
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