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A plea for justice

  • Published at 10:55 pm October 20th, 2019
Liyana Tripura Popy
File Photo: Liyana Tripura Popy, a beauty parlour employee who was killed in a hit-and-run in broad daylight in Gulshan on Friday, October 18, 2019 Collected

Poppy’s death could have been avoided

I knew her, like many of my friends, this lovely and gentle young woman of 22, who worked at my favourite salon and did my nails while chatting away about life, her family, her hopes and dreams, and so many things. 

She was murdered in cold blood by a motorist while they were driving a car belonging to “someone very powerful” Friday morning, as they sped down Gulshan North Avenue recklessly.

He first hit the rickshaw she was on, and then drove over her body that had been hurled into the middle of the road. She had fallen face down, and was just trying to turn on her back when the car drove over her, dragging her by a handful of her hair that got caught in a wheel.

She died immediately. 

The driver could have stopped the car upon hitting the rickshaw, both the passenger and the rickshaw-puller had been hurled onto the street from the impact, but he just drove the car over the poor girl’s body and sped away.

She would have lived, if only he had thought to stop. I can’t get my head around this level of mindlessness and recklessness. I just can’t. 

This happened in the morning, while she was on her way to work, both sides of the street thick with police vehicles and armed police, the location being one of Dhaka’s most prime, housing a number of high commissions and residences of diplomats and political leaders.

This is what happens to people with no name to salute to or family clout and political power, in this country.

She was a young woman, a student of BA at Bandarban College. She had dreams and aspirations for a life that she wanted to build for herself -- a life that was rudely, abruptly, and cruelly interrupted by a killer driving a car belonging to some “high-powered individual.”

Such is the state of affairs in our beloved country, where people’s lives have no value at all.

This young woman had a job, she had a life, she had a family, she worried about her younger brother studying at Dhaka University. She wanted to finish her own BA, she loved her colleagues and friends dearly, and was loved deeply in return. Her clients all adored her sweet and kind nature. She had a life, a name.

Her life had meaning.

We can’t let people disappear under the weight of money and political clout. We can do better than that.

Such deaths need to stop.

The murderer has to be brought to book and the highest punishment should be given to him so that no other innocent is killed because of reckless driving on the streets of this city.

I implore the Gulshan Society to work with the police and authorities to ban drag racing on the avenue. Everyone is aware of this illegal practice, but no one does anything to stop it. 

Young men and their drivers race their cars down the avenue like they own the streets, without a care in the world for anyone who might be unfortunate enough to find themselves in their way. 

What we need is to hold more people accountable for their actions, and, more importantly, for us to own up to our own mistakes.

Poppy’s killers must be brought to book; to that end, I plead to anyone who can help.

Let us all work together to ensure justice for Poppy and her family.

We can surely all agree that impunity for this kind of horrific killing must end. Let us start here. 

Farzana Ahmed Sobhan is a freelance contributor.