Several hundred students blocked different intersections resulting in a paralyzed city for a few hours
Thousands of students blocked some key intersections of the capital on Thursday demanding road safety for the second consecutive day following the death of Nayeem Hasan, a second-year humanities student of Notre Dame College (NDC).
A proxy driver was steering the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) garbage truck which rammed Nayeem to death in Gulistan on Wednesday.
Harun Mia, appointed by the DSCC, rented out his truck to a third person to drive. Rasel Khan, the proxy driver, was a cleaner of the city corporation.
Despite being assured by the DSCC mayor, students tied a 48-hour ultimatum to their six-point demand, including capital punishment, voiced in relation to Nayeem’s death. They also demanded half passes for students on public transport across the country.
Students of NDC started a protest rally from the college campus at around 11:20am and blocked Shapla Chattar at around 11:30am. The students reached Gulistan at around 12pm and blocked Zero Point about forty minutes later.
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They left the Zero Point at around 1:30pm and gathered in front of Nagar Bhaban afterwards. They were waiting to talk to DSCC Mayor Sheikh Fazle Nur Taposh.
Later, Mayor Taposh appeared before the students at around 4pm and talked to them.
After the Mayor went back inside his office, having expressed his solidarity with the students, the demonstrators announced that they would start a movement at 11am on Saturday if their demands were not met by that time.
While addressing the students, Taposh demanded capital punishment for everyone involved in the whole matter.
“I am pledging to you that I will eradicate all irregularities,” he said.
Taposh said: “We have to maintain law and order. The man who was assigned to drive the vehicle was not driving the truck. Rather he rented it out to another person. The city corporation driver was irresponsible and should be punished.
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“Such outsider proxy drivers will not drive city corporation vehicles any longer. As your father, I will ensure that all of your demands are met by the government. Dhaka’s roads will be the safest.”
Naming foot over bridge after Nayeem
Priyangon Islam, a NDC student, called for establishing a foot over bridge at the Zero Point area of Gulistan named after Nayeem.
He questioned why the students had to take to the streets demanding half pass.
Mayor Taposh assured that all the involved officials would be punished. However, he did not address the demand for half passes for students on public transport.
The DSCC will fully establish a foot over bridge within 2021 after martyr Nayeem’s name, he promised.
On Wednesday, Mayor Taposh went to Nayeem’s Kamrangirchar residence and consoled his father on the family’s irreparable loss.
Meanwhile, students of Viqarunnisa Noon College expressed solidarity with the movement and staged a demonstration at the capital's Shantinagar intersection. Many students blocked Uttara streets as well.
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Several hundred students from Government Science College, Tejgaon Commerce College, Ideal Commerce College, BAF Shaheen College, St Joseph’s High School, and Holy Cross College blocked the Farmgate intersection with the same demands that resulted in a paralyzed capital city.
They checked licenses of different vehicles, including a few police vans. At the time, a student claimed that a police official said that the uniforms of policemen and their revolvers were their licenses when they failed to provide proper documentation.
Case and remand
A case was filed by Nayeem’s father Shah Alam Dewan with Paltan police station on Thursday.
Meanwhile, a Dhaka court has placed Rasel Khan, the man who was driving the vehicle, on a three-day remand.
The DSCC formed a three-member probe body on Wednesday headed by Chief Waste Management Officer Sitwat Nayeem. The committee has been asked to submit a report within seven working days.
More deaths on the streets
Amid the student protest, a man was killed on the spot when a Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) garbage truck hit his motorcycle in front of Bashundhara City Shopping Mall in Dhaka’s Panthapath area around 2:45pm on Thursday.
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The victim is Md Ahsan Kabir Khan, 46, who worked at Bangla daily Sangbad and was involved in garment business. He was using a ride-sharing bike at the time.
Sources said the truck driver was not an authorized employee of the DNCC, rather he works as a sweeper. The assigned driver is Rubel Uddin. Instead of him, a sweeper named Md Hanif alias Fatik from the waste management department drove the truck usually.
The DNCC authorities have given the deceased's family Tk50,000. Besides, they have arranged a freezer van and a microbus to carry the body to his hometown Pirojpur. The DNCC mayor also took charge of Ahsan's two children studying in classes nine and four.
The wife of the deceased filed a case with Kalabagan police station under the Road Transport Act 2018.
Early Thursday, another student was killed in a road accident near the foot over bridge in front of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka. The deceased was identified as Yusuf Mia, 20.
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He completed his Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) this year and worked as a motorcycle rider on ride-sharing platform Pathao.
The accident took place around 2am when Yusuf’s motorcycle was hit by an unidentified vehicle while returning home.
In Chandpur, three college students on a CNG-run autorickshaw died after a head-on collision with a bus in Koroiya area of Kachua upazila on Thursday morning.
Two more people died on Chittagong-Khagrachari road at Hathazari of Chittagong on Thursday night.
The accident occurred as the bus hit an auto-rickshaw coming from the opposite side while recklessly overtaking in front of the City Center building in Katirhat Bazar area, according to witnesses.
One of the two people who died on the spot was an auto-rickshaw passenger and another was a cyclist.