A pall of gloom was hovering over the Abu Torab-Bartakia Road, strewn with bodies of the schoolboys killed as a pick-up truck carrying them plunged into a roadside ditch at Mirersarai near the port city on Monday afternoon.
A shrouded body was lying beside the road after every two or three houses.
Two students of Sonimazir Bari, two of Dhopa Bari, two of Bepari Bari, one of Sheikh Ahmeder Bari, two of Mahmud Professorer Bari, six of Nur Islam Hazir Bari, one of Kashem Beparir Bari, and two of Jelepara were among the at least 44 schoolchildren killed in the accident.
Most of the houses of the dead are located in a three square kilometre area comprising Moghadia, Mayani, and Khoyachhara villages beside the road. The residents of the area were seen
hurrying from house to house, consoling the near and dear ones of the dead.
Mohammed Shah Alam, a resident of the area who took part in the rescue operation after the road mishap, said the villagers had no word to console one another as most of them had lost one or more of their relatives in the tragic mishap.
Jahanara Begum, mother of Saidul Islam Nayan, a Class VII student of the Abu Torab Fazil Madrassah, was seen crying, hugging the body of her eldest son, who had gone to watch a football match dodging the classes at the madrassah.
‘I knew, if I let him go to the madrassah today, he would go to watch the match instead,’ the mother wailed, saying it was why she had forbidden Nayan to go to the madrassah.
Two brothers and two sisters of Nayan were also seen crying, embracing one another.
An unearthly silence descended on the Abu Torab High School premises when 27 bodies of the deceased were brought there in the afternoon for namaz-e-janaza.
The near and dear ones of the killed continued weeping on the school premises before and after the prayer, while many others, although they had no relatives among the deceased, broke down in tears, witnessing the situation.
The bodies of four Hindu schoolboys were also brought to the Abu Torab High School premises. Dulal Chandra Dash, father of Titu Dash, a Class XI student killed in the accident, said he had been continuing to bear the cost of sending his son to school despite extreme hardship from the hope that one day Titu would end their misery. ‘But, the accident has ruined all those dreams.’
‘My son loved sports and I never denied him this pleasure as he had always given priority to his studies above everything else. How could I know that it would be sport that would turn into his killer very soon,’ the weeping father said.
-With New Age input