Numb with grief, Harunur Rashid was standing outside Dhaka Medical College morgue yesterday afternoon to receive the body of his 13-month-old daughter Akifa Yasmin.
While waiting there, he peeked inside as the tiny body was being washed; soon tears started streaming down his face.
Later, he gingerly took his daughter covered in a shroud from a morgue assistant, although he knew that nothing could hurt her now.
His eyes betrayed no other emotion except for sheer shock.
Akifa died of head injuries around 8:00am yesterday. She suffered the wounds as she fell from the arms of her mother Rina Khatun who was hit by a Ganj-e-Raj Paribahan bus in Chourhas area of Kushtia town around 11:00am on Tuesday.
A CCTV footage shows that the bus was stationary when Rina with her child started crossing the road. As she came in front of the bus, it started moving without a warning and hit her. On impact, the baby fell on the side of the road. The bus pushed Rina a couple of feet before speeding away, as seen in the clip.
Locals rushed to the scene and took the mother and daughter to Kushtia General hospital. As Akifa's condition worsened, she was brought to DMCH around midnight on Tuesday.
“This is murder. It did not happen due to negligence,” the father told our correspondent.
At DMCH, Harunur cradled his daughter and boarded an ambulance. He had refused a stretcher, opting instead to carry her for one last journey.
His wife Rina, who was also injured in the incident, and some relatives were in the vehicle.
In between sobs, he recalled how Akifa would always stay up late at night, waiting for him to return home from work. He said she had just learned to stand on her own. It was a momentous occasion for the family.
Akifa was the youngest member of the family and had two sisters and a brother. Her birth had brought much joy to the family and all of them doted over their latest addition.
Before they set off for home, Harunur made an impassioned appeal to the prime minister in front of journalists. “I request the prime minister to look into this and give us justice,” he said.
Dr Tapos Kumar Paul, resident medical officer of DMCH, said the baby had suffered severe injuries to her head resulting in a haemorrhage.
The incident triggered outrage among people and they demanded police action. Social media was rife with discussions on the shocking incident.
Asked, Superintendent of Police in Kushtia ASM Mehedi Hasan said that police had collected the CCTV footage.
“It is a clear example of reckless driving and the driver will be brought to book,” he said.
He added that police were yet to take action as the victim's father had not filed a case yet.
He was on the way to Kushtia and would file a case today, the SP said.
Earlier, Harunur had requested Communications Minister Obaidul Quader to see the footage and ensure justice for the family.
“He has to see the video. Then he will understand what happened and can take proper action,” he said.