People don’t help accident victims because of the fear of police harassment but their is also second side of this.
Twelve hours is a long time – coalition governments topple and form again with new alliances, currency notes get demonetised and resurrected with new denominations, even convicts on death row get to see their sentences almost commuted only to be executed within hours – yet not long enough for Delhiites whizzing past a man lying injured on the road.
Nobody has the time and heart to stop by.
On Wednesday, a victim of road accident lay injured on the roadside for more than 12 hours with nobody coming to his rescue. Someone did come to take a look though, only to help himself and steal the injured man’s phone and Rs 12 that was in his pocket and a bag containing clothes.
But 35-year-old Narender Kumar survived the accident and people’s apathy. According to this Hindustan Times report, he has sustained injuries on his neck, legs and spinal cord and is undergoing treatment at Safdurjung Hospital. According to the police, he will survive.
However, Kumar might find it difficult to live with the fact that he lives among the same people in a country where its citizens run to rescue cows and join roadside spectacles of mob lynchings, videograph women’s molestation, and leave the victims to die, only to outrage on social media with sensational graphic evidence.
Narender Kumar, a driver from Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh, was returning home from Jaipur on Tuesday evening and was crossing a road near Kashmere Gate bus terminal in Delhi when a speeding car hit him around 5pm.
“I was flung on the footpath because of the hit by the car. Unable to move because of the injuries, I lay on the roadside through the night,” the same newspaper report quoted him as saying.
He said some people “approached him but no one cared to help”. Kumar’s brother, Rajkumar, couldn’t hide his disbelief and disgust when he said “instead, people stole his mobile phone and bag which were lying on the roadside. Someone even stole Rs 12 from his pocket”.
Out of the countless people who saw him, one passerby finally made a call to the police control room on Wednesday morning after which a PCR van was sent to the spot.
The police have reportedly “registered a case of rash and negligent driving and of causing hurt and were contemplating adding sections pertaining to theft in the case”.
But what about the negligence of all those who saw the man lying injured and yet didn’t help him? Is there any law to implicate them? Sadly, no. You don’t need laws to awaken compassion.
The fact that more accident victims before Narender Kumar have faced similar apathy in Delhi magnifies the problem.
Exactly one year back, a 35-year-old security guard died on road after being hit by a delivery van in West Delhi’s Subhash Nagar area, with no passerby coming to his help for an hour while someone stole the victim’s mobile phone. The whole incident was captured on a CCTV camera installed near Meraj cinema in Subhash Nagar where the victim, Matibul, was hit.
In 2015, just two days before his sister’s wedding, 20-year-old BBA student, Vinay Jindal, “lay bleeding and writhing in pain” after a car hit his two-wheeler. But no one came to help. He died due to excessive bleeding.
So, who do you blame (since that has became the national occupation of Indians hyperactive on social media 24×7)?
Why is it so easy to enrage Indians and “awaken their conscience” only on social media and particularly over matters of religion.
How did we become such cold-hearted people who feel morally responsible to forward belligerent messages on WhatApp and yet look the other way when it comes to channelising that anger over apathy?
The accepted retort (read excuse) is “people don’t help accident victims because of the fear of police harassment”. That is not entirely baseless. However, the Supreme Court last year approved the guidelines issued by the Centre for the protection of Good Samaritans from harassment at hospitals, police stations and courts in road accident cases.
It’s difficult to believe that the same bystanders don’t fear police harassment when participating in mob violence (or is it another pointer towards the fact that the police are equally complicit in mob justice?).
After the death of the security guard last year, the Delhi government had announced to publicly felicitate people who help road accident victims.
Even PM Narendra Modi, in one of his hugely popular Mann Ki Baat, mentioned the case of the scooter rider lying bleeding on a road with nobody helping him.
Is it only the government which is responsible for all our miseries? Truth be told, we all love playing the blame game just like the governments that have been ruling us.
After all, it’s people who make governments. But it’s also people who make a country great or miserable.