Conflicts & War

Student protests continue in Bangladesh demanding better road safety

Dhaka, Nov 30 (EFE).- Hundreds of students continued their protest in Bangladesh’s capital on Tuesday, six days a student was run over by a truck in the city, demanding better road safety, half fare for them in public transport and justice for road accident victims.

Students occupied the main intersections of the city paralyzing traffic to press for their demands, which include legalization of all drivers through training and creation of a modern, active traffic system.

Protests began on Nov. 23 after a college student was killed by a garbage truck and have continued for four consecutive days after a gap on Friday.

The demonstrations intensified Monday night after a bus ran over another student, killing him on the spot in Dhaka’s Rampura area.

Rampura police station officer-in-charge Rafiqul Islam told EFE that local people rushed to the spot and set fire to several buses after the incident.

Police saved the driver, who was severely beaten up by a mob, and have kept him under their custody on Tuesday.

“He is still unconscious. Once his senses are back we will get to know what happened,” Islam said.

Students returned to the streets on Tuesday morning and blocked several areas.

Dhaka Road Transport Owners Association announced on Tuesday that they will accept half fares from students in the city on weekdays.

The government had already announced earlier that the fares for students would be slashed by 50 percent in all buses run by the state-owned Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC).

However, the students have decided to continue their stir.

“They announced half-fare only for the capital but we demand it for the whole country. There was no word about our other demands,” Abdul Ahad Deepto, a student of Prime Asia University who led the protest in Dhaka’s Mirpur area, told EFE.

Faruk Hossain, the spokesman of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told EFE that the situation was under their control.

“Students blocked a few roads today but no untoward incident happened,” he said.

Between July and August 2018, students had protested for over a week for road safety measures after two students were killed by a speeding bus near the Dhaka Cantonment.

The 2018 protests, which spread across the country, led to the government enacting a road transport law increasing the punishment for death due to negligent driving to five years.

The law determined that the deliberate running over of people would draw murder charges and carry a death sentence.

Students claim that though the law was passed in the country’s parliament on Sep. 19, 2018, it has yet to be implemented.

Accidents are common in Bangladesh due to the poor state of roads in the heavily populated and poverty-stricken South Asian country.

Nearly 4,000 people lost their lives and more than 3,800 were injured in some 4,200 road accidents in the country in 2020, according to police. EFE

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