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Bus runs over student in Rangpur, protests ensue

  • Published at 05:54 pm August 12th, 2018
Rangpur protesters
Protesters engage in clashes with police in the Dhaka-Rangpur highway after a hit-and-run accident that left a student dead on August 12 Dhaka Tribune

The accident occured a couple of weeks after two college students were killed by a bus in Dhaka on July 29, sparking a student protest for road safety that lasted for eight consecutive days

A student was killed by a bus in Gaghotpara area of Modern intersection in Rangpur.

Zion, a student of Grade X in Rangpur Collectorate School and College, was cycling back to Meghla student hostel in the Gaghotpara area when a Rangpur bound bus, from Gaibandha, hit him at 11am on Sunday.

He died on the spot. Outraged students and locals surrounded his body and took to the roads, blocking the Dhaka-Rangpur highway in protest.

Protesters also broke several vehicles. Road communication was halted for five hours in the Dhaka-Rangpur highway due to severe traffic congestion. 

A large number of police was deployed in the area, but failed to get the situation under control.

Around 3:30pm, police lobbed teargas shells and baton charged the protesters. At least 20 were injured after the protesters were chased by, and later gave counter-chase to, the police. 

Later, police recovered Zion's body and sent it to Rangpur Medical College morgue. The traffic returned to normalcy at around 4pm.

Mokhtarur Rahman, officer in-charge of Kotwali police station said, police attempted to recover Zion's body but was deterred by the protesters.

When asked why police had charged upon the protesters, Mokhtarur said: "They were throwing brickbats at us. Police acted in self-defense."

The driver, Ensan alias Sanu, 35, and helper Badshah, 30 have been detained. The bus has been identified as belonging to "Bhai Bon Paribahan", informed Additional Superintendent of Rangpur police Saifur Rahman.

Superintendent of Rangpur police Mizanur Rahman said the driver was operating without a license. A case is being prepared against him, he added. 

The accident occurred weeks after two college students were killed by a bus in Dhaka on July 29, sparking a student protest for road safety that lasted for eight consecutive days. 

The peaceful protests, started by teenagers, ended on a violent note after the protesters clashed with police and alleged ruling party associated wings during the last few days of the protest, leaving many injured and a few students in police custody. 

Police have been enforcing strict measures, including a traffic week declared by the Dhaka Metropolitan Police last week, to bring discipline on the roads in reaction to the protests.