Mad race claims young life
Rakibul Islam should have been in school and not on the streets selling masks to pedestrians and bus passengers.
But that was what the 14-year-old was doing at the capital's Moghbazar intersection to help his family cope with the pandemic when he became yet another victim of competition between buses.
He was critically injured when two buses of the same company converged and crushed the hapless boy in the middle around 5:00pm yesterday.
He was rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital in critical condition and was pronounced dead around 5:30pm.
Harun-or-Rashid, a pedestrian who brought Rakibul to DMCH, said three buses of Gazipur-bound Ajmeri Glory Paribahan were competing with each other at Moghbazar intersection.
Bachchu Mia, DMCH police outpost in-charge, said the body has been kept in the DMC morgue for autopsy.
Rakibul's elder brother Riazul Islam said the deceased was the second of three siblings. The family lives at a rented house in Moghbazar's Peyarabagh area.
His father Nur Islam is a hawker and sells betel nuts on the streets while his mother Rizia Begum works as a maid.
Riazul said Rakibul had studied up to class 5 at their village home in Mymensingh's Dhobaura upazila. When Covid hit two years ago, he left school to come to the capital and support his family members.
"Our house rent is Tk 3,500. All expenses were rising. Rakibul had been working for the last year and a half to support the family.
"He used to go out around 3:00pm and sell masks till 9:00pm. Yesterday was no different. But the mad rush of buses took his life," lamented Riazul.
Monirul Islam, officer-in-charge of Ramna Model Police Station, said they seized the two buses, but the drivers and conductors managed to flee.
"We came to know that the boy was trapped between the buses as the vehicles sped up after police gave the signal to cross [the intersection]," he told The Daily Star.
Police will look into CCTV camera footage to know what happened, he said.
On November 8, 2021, a school teacher was killed after being crushed between two buses in the capital's Demra Staff Quarter area.
On March 7 of the same year, a woman was crushed to death between two buses as the vehicles competed to make a U-turn in Dhaka's Gulistan roundabout.
On April 3, 2018, Government Titumir College student Rajib Hossain lost his right hand after it got stuck between two speeding buses while they were trying to overtake each other in Bangla Motor area.
Rajib succumbed to his injuries at DMCH later on April 17.
Data shows a rising trend in road crashes in the last few years despite government agencies promising a change and initiating various steps after a major road safety movement in July-August 2018.
The movement took place after a bus, competing with another, ploughed into pedestrians and killed two students of Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment College -- Abdul Karim Rajib, 18, and Dia Khanam Mim, 17 -- on the capital's Airport Road.
A total of 3,776 people were killed in 3,204 road crashes last year, while 3,558 people were killed in 3,064 incidents in 2020, according to Accident Research Institute (ARI) of Buet.
Meanwhile, in the capital's Wari, a man died following an altercation with a bus conductor over fare.
The deceased was identified as Irfan, 48, employee of an electrical appliance shop in Nawabpur.
Witnesses and the deceased's family members alleged that the conductor pushed him off the moving bus, which led to his fatal injuries.
However, Kabir Hossain Hawlader, officer-in-charge of Wari Police Station, told The Daily Star last night that they had learnt from primary investigation that the bus conductor had gotten off the bus with Irfan when it stopped at Joy Kali Temple area, and continued the altercation which left Irfan bruised and unconscious.
He said filing of a case was underway in this regard, and they would know more after apprehending Mozammel, the conductor of the bus.
Earlier in the day, Wari Police Station Sub-inspector Arafat Hossain said locals had detained Mozammel following the incident, but he managed to flee.
Abdul Quader, Irfan's co-worker, said the incident took place around 11:00am when Irfan was heading to work on a Green Bangla Paribahan bus.
He fell on the road after the conductor pushed him off the bus near Joy Kali Temple following an altercation, Abdul said quoting witnesses.
With critical injuries, Irfan was rushed to a local hospital and was later shifted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital where doctors declared him dead at 12:45pm, he said.
Raihan Ahmed, Irfan's elder brother, said he lived with his wife Ismot Ara and daughter in Demra.
Police said Irfan had injury marks at the back of his head and the body was sent to DMC morgue for autopsy.