Schoolgirl killed, road safety demo continues
Students' protest for safer roads continues in the wake of the recent deaths of two of their peers in road crashes, with more demonstrations planned for today.
Even amid such protests, a school student died yesterday in Tangail when she was run over by a bricks-laden truck after she fell from a battery-run auto-rickshaw.
Thirteen-year-old Hafiza Akhter, a seventh-grader at Gopalidighi KP High School, sustained fatal injuries to her head and died on the spot, said Azizur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Kalihati Police Station.
Quoting witnesses, the OC said the battery-run auto-rickshaw skidded off the road while taking a turn and Hafiza fell on the road near the school around 2:00pm.
He said locals stopped the truck, but the driver managed to flee.
Battery-run auto-rickshaws are illegal under the existing rules and not registered with the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority.
The recent deaths -- of Notre Dame student Nayeem Hasan and SSC examinee Mainuddin Islam -- both involved drivers and vehicles without proper documentation.
Hafiza's death is the third in less than 10 days at a time when students have been demonstrating for safe roads in the capital and elsewhere in the country.
Yesterday, students of different schools and colleges continued their ongoing protests in Dhaka's Rampura area.
They demonstrated near Rampura Bridge and chanted slogans demanding the authorities meet their 11-point demand, including road safety, half fare for students in all public transport across the country and justice for their fellows killed in road accidents.
Khilgaon Model College student Shohagi Samia, who led the protest, said, "The protest cannot be stopped by any threat or fear. This protest will continue in realising the 11-point demand."
Shohagi said, "Many others are protesting for safe roads. Some gave a nine-point demand while others gave a six-point demand. There is no dispute among us. We just place our demands by strengthening some points after discussing with students from some schools and colleges."
She said considering the ongoing HSC exams, they have become tactical in the movement, but will not leave the road.
She said around 12:00 noon today, students will stand on the sidewalk of Rampura Bridge, display red cards and organise a cartoon exhibition against "corruption and mismanagement" in the road transport sector.
Many drivers are operating vehicles without licences and the vehicles themselves are without fitness clearances due to corruption, Shohagi said, adding that these are reasons for accidents.
This must be stopped, she added.
Meanwhile, while students werechecking papers of drivers and vehicles on the road in Rampura, a scuffle took place between police and students yesterday.
Later, senior police officials came and calmed the students. Additional police were deployed in the area to maintain law and order.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Gono Adhikar Parishad -- a newly formed political platform led by former Ducsu vice-president Nurul Haque Nur -- expressed solidarity with the ongoing student protest.
At a protest rally in front of the Jatiya Press Club around 3:00pm, Nur warned the government against harassing agitating students as they had done during the road safety movement in 2018.
He said the government must reduce prices of fuel and ensure half fare for students at public transport across the country.