Friday, June 21, 2024

Workers take away 7 convicted drivers

Transport workers confined a mobile court and freed seven drivers held on charge of diving without licence, having forged licence, driving recklessly and talking on mobile while driving at the Gabtali bus terminal on Sunday.
Bus service had been suspended for about four hours as the workers rallied for the release of the arrested, causing sufferings to the passengers headed for destinations in the south-west and the north.
The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority launched the mobile court, led by executive magistrate SM Rezaul Karim. about 10:30am.
The court jailed seven drivers for having no and forged licences, driving recklessly and talking on mobile while driving for terms varying from 15 days to a month.
They were charged with violation of the Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1983, the court officials present said.
The workers started rallying at the news that the mobile court had convicted seven drivers. The police are said to have tied the hands of the drivers and beaten two of them in the presence of their fellows beside the terminal.
Drivers and transport workers at the terminal took to the streets about 11:30am and started rallying in protest at the assault and the running of mobile court. They also demanded release of the drivers who were convicted.
They blocked the road stretch by parking buses and trucks haphazardly and shouted slogans against BRTA officials accusing them of taking bribes for driving licences.
They also levelled allegations of corruption against policemen in collecting tolls on the roads and highways, witnesses said.
They also demanded immediate release of the driver arrested in connection with the road accident that killed five, including film maker Tareque Masud and ATN News chief executive officer Ashfaq Mishuk Munier, witnesses said.
As the magistrate went to the Hanif Paribahan counter about 12:15pm to check whether the people at the counter were charging people any extra amount, the workers rushed towards the counter.
The police later escorted the magistrate off to the nearby office of the Hanif Paribahan where leaders of the workers held a meeting with the magistrate and forced him to grant bail to the convicted drivers, Dhaka District Transport Workers’ Union leaders said.
In the face of protests, the magistrate granted bail to the drivers and fined them Tk 500 each.
The magistrate later told newsmen that it was an ‘obstacle’ to the enforcement of law as 30 people die in traffic accidents across the country every day and he had sentenced the drivers to imprisonment so that such accidents could not take place.
Mirpur zone traffic inspector Md Ashraful Islam said that launch of mobile courts in the terminal area ‘had never been successful’ because of the obstruction the drivers and the workers created.
The Dhaka District Transport Workers’ Union president, Abbas Uddin, claimed that drivers had rallied because of the assault on the drivers and demanded that there should be no mobile court till Eid-ul-Fitr, likely to be celebrated on either August 31 or September 1.
‘If mobile court is run, vehicles will not move,’ he said. Just after the meeting, he said that they had talked with the magistrate and added that they would request the workers to call off the blockade as the drivers arrested would be freed on bail for the payment of Tk 500 each in fine.
As the news spread about 1:30pm, some workers started rallying in protest at the financial penalty imposed on the drivers and and demanded that the magistrate should apologise for his sentencing the drivers to imprisonment, witnesses said.
Awami League lawmaker Kamal Ahmed Majumder, meanwhile, reached the place about 1:45pm and addressed the workers. He asked the magistrate apologise for what he had done and set free the people convicted.
More policemen later reached the spot and controlled the situation with the help of leaders of workers’ union about 3:00pm and vehicles started plying the roads again.
Two workers were beaten up by their fellows as the two had talked in favour of the mobile court, witnesses said.
Inter-district bus service from Gabtali resumed about 3:00pm, the police and sources at the terminal said.


Courtesy of New Age

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