The filmmakers were returning to Dhaka by the microbus along with three others of the production team after visiting a shooting spot in Manikganj on August 13, 2011.
“Although no court on this Earth can bring back the lives of Tareque, Mishuk, and the others we lost on that terrible day, this judgement brings some measure of vindication for the years of suffering we have endured in their absence,” Tareque’s wife Catherine Masud said.
CM Video Statement
from Catherine Masud
“It is my hope and confidence that this judgement will be upheld if appealed, and justice will be done in order to send a signal that those who are responsible for such reckless killing on our roads will not go unpunished,” she told the Dhaka Tribune in an email when contacted for comments.
“May this mark a turning point in the prosecution of such crimes, so that the roads will be safer and more lives will be saved in future.”
She also thanked the lawyers who had relentlessly been engaged with the case proceedings that led to the final verdict.
Tareque’s brother Nahid Masud said that the verdict would increase awareness among bus owners, drivers and the staff about not to drive recklessly.
“The verdict is expected to help reduce the number of casualties, caused from such road accidents,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mishuk’s younger brother Asif Munier has welcomed the verdict, terming it a milestone and hoped that the government would execute the judgement.
Son of martyred intellectual Munier Chowdhury, Asif told the Dhaka Tribune that the verdict, though came after six long years, would be a precedence in other cases filed over road accidents.
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Asif Munier Courtesy
He said that now more victims of road accidents would be encouraged to take legal action, and the police and the courts would take such cases seriously.
“We did not expect life-term imprisonment for the bus driver because of the lack of such examples in the country.
“Moreover, the accused tried to influence the case in many ways while the prosecution could not produce half of the witnesses.
“May be we have got justice only because it is a high-profile case, and several organisations and prominent lawyers assisted us. I hope that the High Court and the Appellate Division will uphold the verdict,” said Asif.
Such convicts should not be given bail, he suggested.
“Since the accident, I have always avoided travelling on the highways. It is a trauma that haunts me. This is why I did not attend the court proceedings. Me and my mother were waiting in front of the TV to learn about the verdict,” Asif said.
Also Read- Bus driver gets life for deaths of Tareque, Mishuk
There should be more awareness programmes against reckless driving, Asif said.
“Our family members got engaged in awareness campaigns after the tragic death of my brother. My sister-in-law [Mishuk’s wife Manjuli Kazi] regularly attends such programmes to demand safe roads.”
In social media, people of all strata welcomed the verdict and demanded that the government enforce the traffic rules properly to bring down deaths of people on the roads significantly. Some Facebook users expressed concern that the stern punishment meted out to the driver might draw criticisms and protests by the transport owners and workers.
Film star Ilias Kanchan, who has long been campaigning for road safety under the banner of “Nirapad Sarak Chai,” said: “It is possibly the first case where an accused is given life-term imprisonment for a road accident.
“The judgement will help aware other drivers regarding reckless driving and negligence.”
Transport leaders are somewhat happy with the verdict but stressed that the police conduct the investigation properly.
Khandaker Enayetulla, secretary general of Bangladesh Sarak Paribahan Malik Samiti, said: “We have no objection if charges are framed under Section 304 of the Penal Code – if the investigation officer can prove beyond doubt that the driver was responsible for the accident.”
He alleged that investigation into the road accident cases had not been carried out properly.