A Bangladeshi activist, who rescued dozens of people during the infamous 2013 Rana Plaza disaster that killed over 1,100 people, has committed suicide by setting himself ablaze after pouring kerosene, police said Friday.
Nowshad Hasan Himu, 27, set himself ablaze on Wednesday night, apparently after suffering years of trauma-related depression, and was found on fire by neighbours outside his rented house at Birulia in Ashulia area near Dhaka.
"We have sent his body to Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital morgue," Dhaka Tribune quoted Savar police station Sub-Inspector Asgar Ali as saying.
Ali said Himu set himself on fire after pouring kerosene on himself on the sixth anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy.
Himu, a familiar face to those who worked during the Rana Plaza disaster on April 24 which killed 1,134 people in one of the world's worst industrial tragedies, had rescued scores of people and recovered a number of bodies throughout the 17-day rescue operation.
From 2016, he began showing signs of detachment from his family. He started living on his own, befriending animals instead, said a condolence message released yesterday by Bangladesh Garments Sramik Samhati, with which Himu worked closely during the disaster.
"He called me several times on Wednesday, which was not normal; he also sounded different. Even a few minutes before setting himself on fire, we spoke on the phone. Later, I received the news and rushed to the hospital," said Himu's mother Afroza Begum.
Nashwad used to speak more often about how people were stuck inside the debris of the building and how many of them died there. He used to worry a lot about certain things," she said.
"Maybe he was worried about something which affected his mental condition, leading him to commit suicide," she added.
According to neighbours, Himu had pet dogs, took care of street dogs, but seemed mentally unstable most of the time.
He did not really socialise, and spent most of his time with his dog, they said.
Police suspect Himu was suffering from depression.
Rajib Ashraf, Himu's roommate, said he was alone and used to talk about his trauma from Rana Plaza tragedy.