Three youngsters have died after a rain-soaked boundary wall at the Sylhet Stadium collapsed inside the nearby Lakatura Tea Garden during the early hours of Tuesday.
The victims were sleeping in their tin-shed house when the wall crumbled on them at around 3:00 AM following heavy rain that started on Monday night. The deceased were identified as Nasima Akhtar (17) and his brother Zahed (11)- both children of a tea garden worker Azan Ali- and Ruhul (11), the son of another tea garden worker Kutubuddin who hails from the Srimangal district.
"All of a sudden, we felt something falling on us," Azan told The Daily Star. "Somehow we managed to go out of the rubble but Nasima and Zahed could not."
Locals immediately rushed to the spot to recover two bodies, but the third body was recovered only at around 4:30 AM. The bodies were handed over to the police, who sent them to the Osmani Medical College Hospital morgue for autopsies. Following the accident, hundreds of tea garment workers staged a one-hour demonstration on the nearby airport road at around 8:30 AM demanding compensation for the victims' families.
The Sylhet Stadium was one of three World T20 venues and hosted 30 matches, including 24 in the Women's edition. The renovation work for the stadium was delayed last year, causing flutters within the BCB as ICC inspectors visited Sylhet several times until the stadium was reconfirmed as a venue last November.
The sports ministry has formed a four-member inquiry committee which has been given three days to deliver the report. The National Sports Council, the regulatory body of sports in Bangladesh, is the custodian of all stadiums in the country, and its secretary Sibnath Roy said that the wall was built during the 2004-05 fiscal year and was not part of renovation work for the recent World T20.
Mohammad Rahmatullah, the additional commissioner of Sylhet Metropolitan Police, has said the police will investigate the matter, while the BCB and the country's state minister for youth and sports Biren Shikdar both expressed their shock over the accident.
"The Sylhet Stadium is an establishment under the jurisdiction of the NSC," the BCB said in a statement. "The BCB has already communicated to the NSC that it expects a comprehensive inquiry into this unfortunate incident."