Protests on, deaths too
As school and college students poured onto the streets in a repeat act of the 2018 road safety protests after Wednesday's accident, another city corporation garbage truck hit and killed a commuter yesterday.
The accident on Wednesday was caused by a garbage truck of Dhaka South City Corporation, while yesterday's truck belonged to Dhaka North City Corporation.
In both cases, those driving the trucks were not registered drivers but cleaners working for the corporations.
Meanwhile, in a separate incident, three college students were killed when a CNG-run auto-rickshaw was hit by a BRTC bus in Chandpur.
In Dhaka, Ahsan Kabir Khan, a graphic designer of Dainik Sangbad, was killed when a DNCC garbage truck hit a motorbike from behind and then ran over his head around 2:30pm opposite Bashundhara City.
Ahsan, who was the pillion rider, fell on the street as the truck rammed the motorcycle.
Driven by cleaner Fatik, the truck accelerated forwards and ran its wheels over Ahsan's head. Ahsan was wearing a helmet, but underneath the truck's wheels, the helmet smashed into smithereens and only served to impale him further.
The registered driver of the vehicle is one Rashed, who was not in the truck at the time of the accident.
These descriptions were provided by a traffic sergeant at the intersection, Md Saddam Hossain, and an eyewitness, Alam who works at a furniture store nearby.
"How did this happen to me? What will happen to our children?"
Ahsan had previously worked at the daily Prothom Alo for 17 years. He left behind a son and a daughter, said his family members.
The traffic sergeant said the driver and his helpers fled the scene as soon as possible.
Meanwhile in Chandpur, a Dhaka-bound BRTC bus rammed an auto-rickshaw carrying four college students. Three people died on the spot and two were injured.
The dead were identified as Urmi Majumder, 24, Mahbub Alam, 24, and Saddam Hossain, 23, who were on their way to college.
Quoting locals and eyewitnesses, Md Mohiuddin, officer-in-charge of Kachua Police Station, said the accident took place in Karuia area of Kachua upazila at 7:00am yesterday.
In this case too, the driver fled.
"The people and the government are hostages to transport sector leaders…They think the government has to meet their every demand and the people have to accept them."
The day road accidents took at least four more lives across the country, road safety protests like the ones in 2018 re-emerged on the streets yesterday.
The students of Notre Dame College took to the streets again to demand prompt justice for those responsible for the death of their peer, Nayeem Hasan, who was killed on Wednesday.
A group of outraged students marched in front of the college in Dhaka's Arambagh area at 11:00am. The procession proceeded to Shapla Chattar, where it paused for a while. The students later left for Gulistan to block the intersection and meet the DSCC mayor.
The students had a six-point demand, including speedy justice for Nayeem's death and compensation for his family.
They also demanded enquiries into why police did not promptly take Nayeem to hospital, why drivers without skills can still be on the steering wheel, and how a city corporation vehicle can be driven by an unskilled driver.
They also demanded that all vehicles without the required fitness be taken off the streets.
Protesters also said they want their six-point demand to be realised by tomorrow (Saturday) or they will restart demonstrations from Sunday.
DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam and DSCC Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh pledged that legal action will be taken against the respective drivers.
Atiqul said, "A four-member committee has been formed to investigate the matter, following which we will take legal action."
He also said he will extend help towards the family.
Meanwhile, Taposh demanded death for the driver who killed Nayeem.
"The garbage truck was not being driven by a registered driver. Both he and the one who was supposed to drive it have to be punished … I will strive to ensure capital punishment to the murderer."
Police said a cleaner was on the steering of the garbage truck instead of its designated driver.
According to a DSCC press release, Iran Miah, the designated driver of the truck, gave the keys to Md Harun, who then gave them to Russel Khan. Both Harun and Russel are cleaners of the city corporation.
Russel took the vehicle out from the capital's Sayedabad area, said Abdul Ahad, deputy commissioner of Motijheel Division police, yesterday.
Police detained Russel near the Awami League office of Gulistan while he was trying to flee the truck after the accident.
Upon interrogating Russel and checking the vehicle documents, police came to know the registered driver was not in the truck when the accident occurred.
Police are now searching for Harun and he would be arrested soon, he said, adding, "We would interrogate him to know why he gave the keys to Russel."
He further said that Russel does not have a job in the city corporation.
Russel told police during interrogation that his relative worked in the city corporation, who helped him get a job there as a cleaner. He, however, did not have a driver's licence.
Replying to a query, DC Ahad said Russel often took the keys from Harun and drove the truck.
He has been taken on a three-day remand, granted by Tofazzal Hossain, Dhaka's additional chief metropolitan magistrate.
In addition to Gulistan, students also protested in other areas of the city, including Farmgate, Kalabagan, Panthapath and Shantinagar.
Rallying cries of "My brother is in the grave, why is the murderer still outside?" rang through the streets of Dhaka as uniformed children protested for what is a basic right -- the right to live.
Students also checked the licences of drivers at Farmgate, not even shying away from checking the licences those of law enforcement agencies and other security forces.
They withdrew their protests around 4:00pm.
However, some 100 students protesting and demanding for half fare for public transport in Chattogram's Sholashahar were chased by police with batons around 1:00pm.
They tried to take position in the middle of the road when police drove them out of the area.
Raihan Uddin, president of Chattogram city's Samajtantrik Chhatra Front, claimed at least 10 students were injured as police attacked their programme.
Police picked up Saifur Rudra, joint convener of the city's Chhatra Federation, Miraj Uddin, organising secretary of Samajtantrik Chhatra Front, Jahedul Rafi, a student of Patiya Govt College, and Jamshedul Haque.
The students later tried to organise a rally at the New Market intersection but police again dispersed them around 3:00pm.
Raihan claimed at least five of their activists were injured in police attacks at New Market intersection.
Atrif Mainuddin, a leader of Gonatantrik Chhatra Council, said police charged the students with batons without any instigation.
Contacted, Jahedul Kabir Chowdhury, officer-in-charge of Panchlaish Police Station, said police did not attack the activists. "They [students] fled the scene after seeing police."
He added that those picked up were released.