6 Jabal-e-Noor Paribahan owners, staff indicted
Six owners, drivers and helpers of the two buses of Jabal-e-Noor Paribahan were indicted in a case filed in connection with a road accident that killed two college students in the capital's Airport Road on July 29.
Four accused, now in jail, pleaded not guilty and demanded justice after Judge KM Imrul Kayes of the Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court read out the charges to them.
The court fixed November 1 to start trial of the case.
Among the six accused, drivers Masum Billah and Zobair Hossain Sumon, helper Enayet Hossain and owner Shahadat Hossain are now behind the bars.
Earlier on October 22, the court issued arrest warrants against helper the two other accused -- Kazi Asad and owner Jahangir Alam, who have been shown fugitive in the charge sheet submitted by Inspector Kazi Shariful Islam of Detective Branch (DB).
On July 29, Abdul Karim alias Rajib Uddin, 18, and Dia Khanam Mim, 17, of Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment College were run over and killed by the bus being driven by Masum.
Masum and bus owner Shahadat gave confessional statements to the court under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Dia's father Jahangir Alam filed the case with Cantonment Police Station in connection with the accident.
How the accident happened?
During a mad race between two buses for passengers, one of the drivers slammed on the brakes near the ramp of the Airport Road flyover adjacent to the Armed Forces Medical College in Kurmitola.
While some people, mostly students, were about to get on the vehicle, the second bus came and ploughed into the crowd.
The result: the loss of two young lives.
To the horror of passersby, two students of Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment College were killed on the spot. At least nine others were injured after being hit or run over.
The dead victims Rajib was a student of class-XII, and Mim, an 11th grader.
The incident happened when some people, including at least 15 students, were waiting to board a bus to go home, said witnesses and other students.
The bus scraped against the boundary wall of the Armed Forces Medical College and stopped after crashing into a roadside tree.
Immediately after that, a boy was seen hanging between the bus, the tree and the wall while two other students were seen lying on the ground, bleeding profusely, said another passenger.
Sandals, bags and umbrellas of the victims were lying scattered.
Immediately after the incident around 12:30pm yesterday, students of the college went on a rampage, vandalising over 100 vehicles on the busy street in the capital.
Accident sparked students' demo for safe roads
As the news of the incident spread, several hundred students of the college rushed to the spot on Airport Road in Dhaka and blocked the road.
The students kept the road blocked for nearly two hours, leading to traffic congestion and causing immense public suffering.
the protesters termed the incident “murder” and demanded immediate and exemplary punishment of the drivers.
After running for seven consecutive days road safety demo by students meets violence. For five long hours since 1:30pm, Dhanmondi Road-3 became a battlefield on August 4.
On one side of it were thousands of school and college students. On the other end, a small group of people, allegedly belonging to Chhatra League and other front organisations of the ruling Awami League. Both groups were armed with stones and sticks, chasing each other intermittently.
Rumours of deaths and sexual harassment of some protesters were rife, which further angered the students who dislodged the bamboo sticks fringing the road divider, gathered stones and shouted slogans.
A group of alleged BCL men with sticks came running down the long road, throwing stones. From the middle of the alleged BCL men, a red-shirted young man was brandishing a pistol. He had white helmet was on his head. Moments later, gunshots rang out loud. One, two, three… many more. At least 150 were injured as BCL men swoop on students at Jhigatola that day.
The very next day, in an apparently synchronised attack by police and alleged BCL men on the students, mostly from universities, who took to the streets protesting the assaults on school children in the capital's Jhigatola area the previous day.
At least 30 students and about a dozen photojournalists and reporters suffered injuries in the attacks that rocked Jhigatola-Dhanmondi neighbourhood. At least three were hacked with machetes.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the same day August 5 asked guardians and teachers to take their children back to schools.
How safe road demo spreads elsewhere
The protests that started there turned rapidly into a nationwide movement of school and college going students for road safety.
Since the protest began on July 29, three ministers -- Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, Law Minister Anisul Huq and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader -- tried to calm the protesters, assuring them of addressing the decades-long anarchy on the roads and highways in phases. They also asked them to return to their classes.
The students stoutly rejected their assurances, issuing instead a clarion call to meet their demands for a safe and orderly road and justice for their two fellows killed in the road crash near the airport.
In efforts to keep the students off the streets, the government kept all educational institutions across the country shut on August 2.
But the students responded by pouring onto the roads in greater numbers in a show of defiance and determination, turning that day's demonstration the largest one yet.
College and private university students, soaked in rain and burnt in the sun, ruled the streets for days.
The protesters kept a check on all the vehicles and they assumed the role of traffic police, checking documents of almost all modes of transports in presence of police. They took away the keys from those who failed to show their licence.
They said they would not leave the street until their demands are met.
Bringing the perpetrators to justice
The Supreme Court on August 9 upheld a High Court order that directed Jabal-e-Noor Paribahan to pay Tk 5 lakh to each of the families of two students who were killed in the road crash on Airport Road in Dhaka on July 29.
PM Sheikh Hasina hands over savings certificate of Tk 20 lakh to Jahangir Fakir, father of Dia Khanam Mim who was killed in a road crash on Airport Road, at her office on August 2.
Jahangir Fakir, father of road accident victim Dia Khanam Mim, on the same day urged the students to go back home as he expressed optimism that the prime minister would take effective measures to check road accidents.