Angered by the death of a student in a garbage truck accident, street protesters vow to come back

The students aggrieved by the death of a peer in a road mishap have left the streets after a day of protests that caused traffic turmoil in Dhaka.

Published : 25 Nov 2021, 08:39 AM
Updated : 25 Nov 2021, 06:01 PM

But they vowed to resume their demonstrations unless their demands, including justice for the dead student and reduced bus fares, are met.

The protesters said on Thursday afternoon they would be back on the streets at 11 am on Saturday if they did not get assurances from the authorities to meet the demands.

Students have been protesting in Dhaka for half-fare on bus rides for some days. The death of Nayeem Hasan, a Notre Dame College student who was killed in an accident involving a city corporation vehicle on Wednesday, added a new dimension to the ongoing protests.

Dhaka, known for its heavy traffic congestion, was virtually brought to a standstill on Thursday amid the protests. The protesters blocked key roads in Farmgate, Gulistan and Shantinagar at 10am, leading to gridlocks across the city.

Traffic in Gulistan ground to a halt after hundreds of students from Notre Dame College descended on the streets. They demonstrated outside the Dhaka South City Corporation headquarters at the Nagar Bhaban afterwards, demanding that Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh ensure justice for Nayeem.

The mayor later met the protesters around 4pm and expressed solidarity with them. After his speech, the students left under the supervision of teachers.

Meanwhile, garment factory workers held a demonstration in Mirpur-13. The blockades by the students and the workers led to heavy traffic in Motijheel, Paltan, Kakrail, Shantinagar, Malibag, Farmgate, and the Mirpur Road and Airport Road areas.

The road from Bailey Road to Shantinagar was closed for several hours after students of Viqarunnisa Noon School and College staged a blockade.

Students from three other colleges blocked the Farmgate area at 11am. They blocked a Dhaka Metropolitan Police bus for an hour after the driver was unable to show his licence.

The traffic was so bad that Ibrahim Mia, who drives a bus on the Airport-Gulistan route, said he made one trip to Gulistan in the morning and was not able to leave since.

Ashraf Ali, who operates a car for ride-hailing service Uber, said he dropped off one passenger in Gulshan and then got hired for a trip to New Market, but couldn’t reach the destination. He had to go to Agargaon through Bijoy Sarani instead.

Google Maps showed thick red lines of congested traffic in the areas near Motijheel and Farmgate, meaning that traffic was nearly at a standstill in those areas.

Google also indicated that roads in Farmgate and Gulistan were blocked.

Nayeem, a second-year student of the college, died after being hit by a garbage truck in front of the Gulistan Hall market on Wednesday.

The 17-year-old lived with his family in Kamrangirchar’s Jhaolahati. He was the youngest member of the family.

Hundreds of Notre Dame College students rushed to Gulistan on hearing the news of Nayeem’s death on Wednesday and blocked the road.

Rasel Khan, who was driving the truck containing, was arrested in a case under the Road Transport Act. Police produced Rasel before court, seeking a seven-day remand order, Paltan Police Station OC Md Salauddin said. State counsel Azad Rahman said the judge granted the police three days to question Rasel in custody.

DSCC later said in a notice that it suspended the original driver Iran Mia, who tasked cleaner Harun Mia with driving the truck.

Another cleaner, Abdur Razzak, was also on the truck during the accident. The city corporation sacked both Harun and Razzak.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher