Students from Notre Dame College held a procession through Gulistan in Dhaka on Thursday to demand road safety and justice for a college student who was run over and killed by a dust cart. – Sourav Lasker
Hundreds of students from different educational institutions demonstrated Thursday for the second day in a row in Dhaka, demanding justice for the murder of Notre Dame College student Nayeem Hasan and renewing their call for the enforcement of road safety measures .
College Notre Dame students led the protests, blocking roads in Gulistan zero point area at noon before students from other educational institutions take to the streets in different parts of Dhaka.
Nayeem was killed on Wednesday by a fast dust cart from the Dhaka South City Corporation in the capital Gulistan. College Notre Dame students protested his death immediately after the incident and returned to the scene on Thursday, blockading the area for nearly two hours from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The protests created huge traffic jams in adjacent areas, causing people suffering.
“The driver primarily responsible for the murder has yet to be arrested. We demand his immediate arrest, ”said Meharan Hossain, a restless college student at Notre Dame College.
The students said the person, who was driving the dust cart, did not have a driver’s license and therefore the state could not avoid responsibility for Nayeem’s murder.
They alleged that DSCC had 300 dust trucks and only appointed 86 drivers to operate them.
Holding DSCC authorities responsible for the death, Rizajul Islam Tanvir, a student at Notre Dame College, said those responsible must be brought to justice.
He also urged the mayor of DSSC, Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, to build a pedestrian bridge in the name of Nayeem in Gulistan.
Traffic collapsed in the city during protests that spilled over to Motijheel, Farmgate, Science Laboratory, Uttara, Asad Gate, among others. Protests escalated when news broke of the death of another person hit by a Dhaka North City Corporation dust cart.
A former employee of the Daily Prothom Alo was killed by being run over by a DNCC dust cart in the Panthapath area in the afternoon.
Buses pulled off the road as protesting students began to check driver’s licenses and other documents at Farmgate, a repeat of the scene seen in 2018 during the road safety movement.
Students demonstrating chanted slogans in Gulistan and in front of the DSCC office holding up signs saying “We want justice,” road safety “; “The country is a dust cart”; “My brother is at the grave, why is the killer out.”
The agitated students walked to the DSCC office after blocking the road in the Gulistan region and stayed there for more than two hours.
At one point in their protest, DSCC Mayor Taposh joined them and expressed solidarity with their demands. “I want the killer hanged to death,” Taposh told the agitated students.
“The driver, who was in charge of operating the dust cart, had another person come to drive it. We have already suspended the driver and will fire him, ”Taposh told the students.
Taposh promised he would take “tough action” if a foreigner took over the DSCC vehicles.
Deputy Commissioner of Motijheel Division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Abdul Ahad said he arrested the person, who was driving the dust cart, as a complaint was lodged with Paltan Police Station about it.
He identified those arrested as Mohammad Russell and said they were also trying to stop DSCC driver Harun Mia, who hired the man to rush to the vehicle.
Ahad said Russell was not a permanent member of the DSCC and confirmed that he did not have a driver’s license.
He said Russell took the dust cart from Harun to Saidabad and drove it. Harun was in Saidabad when the accident occurred, Ahad said.
A Dhaka metropolitan court granted Russell three days on remand after police brought him to court.
Road safety remains elusive even three years after student protests across the country in 2018.
Three students were killed and two others injured on Thursday when a state-run BRTC bus bound for Dhaka struck an automatic rickshaw bound for Cumilla coming from the opposite direction in the Bishwa Road area in the ‘upazila from Kachua to Chandpur.
A student was killed by a fast truck in Chattogram the same day.
Thousands of students took to the streets after their two classmates – two students from Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment College – were killed when a reckless driver pulled a Jabal-e-Noor bus off the road and walked through a crowd at Kurmitola in Dhaka on July 29, 2018.
Most of the road safety demands, formulated by students who have been demonstrating for more than a week across the country, go unanswered despite positive initiatives and assurances from the authorities.
In 2018, the students demanded the highest punishment for the bus drivers responsible for the murder of the two, establishing gateways and taking security measures for the safety of student movements, establishing circuit breakers in the accident prone areas, including in front of schools. and colleges.
They also demanded that the government take full responsibility for the families of the deceased and injured, forcing buses to carry students, half-fare for students, not allowing unconditioned buses and driving by any driver without allowed in any place of the country and prohibiting on the carriage of passengers by public transport beyond their capacity.
On June 25, 2018, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued guidelines to ensure rest for drivers every five hours, to employ backup drivers for long-distance vehicles, training and rest facilities for drivers and their assistants, using seat belts when traveling and obeying traffic signals.
Most of these requests and directives remained on paper, and lawlessness on the roads continued.
Road safety experts blamed faulty road planning, lawlessness, culture of impunity, an ungodly link between transport owners, workers and part of law enforcement and non-implementation proposed public transport projects, electoral commitments and existing laws for the situation.
Reckless competition between bus drivers without a proper license or license, unfit buses, buses stopping anywhere on the roads to pick up passengers and poor traffic management continues across the country.
Following the student protest, the Jatiya Sangsad adopted the Road Transport Bill on September 19, 2018, replacing the 1983 Motor Vehicle Ordinance.