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The Financial Express

Road tragedy on DU campus that could be avoided


Road tragedy on DU campus that could be avoided

Road accidents have become so common and almost routine-like that newspaper readers or viewers of electronic media won't care to give a second look at any report on accidents involving deaths and injuries unless it contains bad news about their close ones. But there are still some accidents and resulting deaths that shake us to the core.

Last Friday (December 2)'s accident between a motorbike and a private car near the TSC area on the Dhaka University campus is one such instance. The private car being driven by a former Dhaka University teacher hit the motorbike carrying a 45 year old woman, Rubina Akhter, and her brother-in-law as the driver, from behind. Rubina Akhter who was on the pillion fell from the motor cycle and the driver of the car that knocked her down did not stop to see what he had done. Had he stopped and rescued his victim whose dress was entangled with the bumper of the car, the woman's life could be saved. Being a conscious and educated person, it was only expected of him. But without the slightest feeling of compassion or guilt, the ex-professor-cum-driver rather chose to flee the scene and sped away dragging the body of Rubina Akhter over a kilometer along with his car before the public witnessing the horrific scene finally forced the frenzied driver to stop. Police also intervened. The crowd that gathered at the spot was learnt to have given the driver a good beating. The victim woman's badly mutilated body was then taken to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital where the attending doctor declared her dead. What a mindless act on the part of a university teacher, though not in the job at this moment, to have consciously committed such a dastardly crime!

Reports of buses or cars fleeing the place of accident at full throttle for fear of facing an angry mob are common. But such accidents mostly occur on the highways or places where the crowd that gather are an unknown quantity in an unfamiliar environment. Being faceless, they often resort to gratuitous violence as they know that they are doing it unnoticed.

But the Dhaka University campus is a quite different place. It is an area where students dominate the scene. Most of them know one another and are expected to behave reasonably in any emergency. Even other visitors to the place are usually a more sensible lot. So, they are quite unlike the roadside mobs. They would not have rushed to the accident spot and start beating up the car driver without rhyme or reason. The ex-teacher of the university who was at the steering wheel should have known that. But he behaved like a highway driver. And due to her insane act another precious life has been lost to a car crash, the victim's only child who had already lost his father is now doubly orphaned and a family is bereft of one of its beloved members. Following the incident, a large number of Dhaka University students have reportedly staged demonstrations pressing for a number of demands including campus safety and justice for Rubina.

Repetition of such indefensible killings on the road should stop. Those working for road safety should consider this issue seriously. For fear of the lynch mob often drives the operators of errant vehicles crazy. And in their bid to avoid mob justice, the drivers try to run away from the scene of accident as soon as possible leading to many tragedies that could otherwise be avoided.

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