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Grieving students end blockade on Airport Road, place nine-point demand

  • Published at 11:41 am July 30th, 2018
Students
Students of Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment School and College blocked Airport Road, in Dhaka on July 30, 2018 Md Manik/Dhaka Tribune

On Sunday, two students from Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment School and College were killed by a speeding bus

Hundreds of protesters on Monday blocked Airport Road for six hours, demanding justice for two students killed when a reckless bus driver ploughed into pedestrians the previous day.

Traffic came to a halt on both sides of the busy road following the blockade that started around 10:30am.

Vehicular movement resumed around 4pm after police removed the demonstrators from the road, Prabir Kumar Roy, deputy commissioner (traffic) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said.

The protesters, mostly students, have given a 24-hour ultimatum to the authorities to reply to a 9-point demand they have made over the deaths of their fellows.

Abdul Karim Rajib, 18, and Dia Khanam Mim, 17, both students of Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment School and College were killed after a bus racing with another one veered into a crowd of students at the bus stop.  

The protesters have called for capital punishment for the driver, the withdrawal of a statement made by Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan and an apology from him to the students, the provision of a pedestrian overbridge at the treacherous crossing, and the banning vehicles without fitness certificates. 

They threatened to resume protests today if their demands were not met.

Meanwhile, Cantonment police station’s Duty Officer Assistant Sub-Inspector Umme Salma told the Dhaka Tribune that the father of one of the victims had filed a case against the bus driver and his assistant on Sunday night.

Earlier in the day, the students of Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment School and College where the victims studied, tried to form a human chain at the place of the incident, but police attempted to remove them from the spot.

Cantonment police station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Kazi Shahan Haque told the Dhaka Tribune that the police wanted to remove them because Airport Road is one of the busiest roads in the city.

Things heated up soon thereafter as hundreds of students of other colleges, including Adamjee Cantonment College, BAF Shaheen College, Tejgaon College, Government Science College, Bhasantek School and College, Gulshan Commerce College, Milestone College, and Banani Bidyaniketan School & College also joined the demonstration and blocked the road.

This reporter saw students holding banners and chanting slogans demanding justice.

Officials of police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) were seen trying to calm the agitated students, requesting them to leave the road.

Even teachers from Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment School and College also joined the members of law enforcement agencies in trying to calm the situation.

The student also blocked the Shawra rail gate line around 1:30pm which forced the railway authorities to shut down train movement for two hours, said Cantonment Railway Station stationmaster Mojammel Hossain.

Three students of Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment School and College told the Dhaka Tribune that Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan had laughed and downplayed the issue when their friends were dying, and said they would not tolerate it.

Hundreds of Students of Dhaka College and Dhaka City College blocked the Science Laboratory intersection for about an hour on Monday, demanding justice for the deaths of the two students of Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment School and College Sunday.

Three drivers, two assistants arrested

Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) members have arrested three drivers and two assistants, of three buses from different parts of Dhaka and Barguna, in connection to Sunday's bus accident that left two college students dead.

The arrestees are - drivers Masum Billah, 30, Jubayer, 36, Shohag, 35 and assistants Md Enayet, 38 and Ripon, 32, RAB Additional Director General (ADG) Anwar Latif confirmed.

RAB confirmed to the Dhaka Tribune on Monday that several of their members arrested the culprits from different parts of the capital, including Mirpur area, in an overnight drive on Sunday.  

On Sunday, two college students were killed when an Uttara-bound bus of “Jabal-e-Noor Paribahan” rammed into a group of students. They had been waiting on the road for vehicles to return home after college.

Following the accident, outraged students and locals blocked the road for about an hour after the accident, vandalized 50 to 60 vehicles, and set two buses on fire.

A case was filed in connection with the incident on Sunday night.

HC orders owners of the bus to give Tk5 lakh to victims’ families

The High Court on Monday directed the owners of Jabal-e-Noor Paribahan to provide Tk5 lakh within a week to each family of the two students. The court also ordered the bus owners to bear all the costs of treatment of the nine students injured in the accident.

The chairman of the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) was directed to make sure that the HC order is executed.

A bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam passed the order after hearing a writ petition filed by Barrister Ruhul Kuddus Kajal in the form of public interest litigation.

The court also issued a rule seeking an explanation as to why directives should not be given to provide Tk2 crore to each family as compensation and ensure people's safety in public transports through the strict implementation of traffic rules.

Secretaries to home, and road transport and bridges ministries, inspector general of police (IGP), Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner, its additional commissioner (traffic), Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, and Jabal-e-Noor Paribahan authorities were asked to respond to the rule.

Besides, the BRTA chairman was asked to submit a report within August 12 on what steps they have taken to ensure security of commuters on roads and on the basis of what drivers of public transports are given driving licences.