By Vijay Darda | 11-02-2019
Government has framed clear rules to provide protection to those helping injured persons in road accidents
It is common in our country to see the road accident victim being left to die in agony rather than someone stepping forward to take the victim to hospital. People often turn mute spectators to such accidents. It is only after the victim succumbs that people come forward. Perhaps that’s why Josh Malihabadi has said:
Jangalon me sar patakta
Jo musafir mar gaya
Ab usey awaaj deta
Caravan aaya toh kya
I and my family have been witness to the indifference of fellow citizens in one such accident. Recently my daughter-in-law Rachana was going by car via the six-lane Mathura-Delhi highway. My Delhi car driver Gajendra Singh was driving the car. Suddenly, he suffered brain haemorrhage and had a heart attack as well. Even in such a condition, he steered the car speeding at 100 to 120 kilometres per hour to the first lane. He parked the car and fell unconscious after placing his head on the steering wheel. Had he become unconscious on the third or fourth lane, there could have been a terrible accident. But he stopped the vehicle by taking it to a safe place. As soon as he became unconscious, Rachana got out from the car. For about 15 minutes, she kept calling for help, waving at the vehicles passing by to stop but no one bothered. Meanwhile, two people stopped. By then I also reached there with my son Devendra. We took Gajendra to the hospital, but by then he had breathed his last. Those 15 minutes could have saved Gajendra’s life provided somebody would have responded to Rachana’s call for help and stopped by and taken the patient to the hospital.
The Save Life Foundation, a voluntary organisation, recently conducted a survey. The survey was done in 11 major cities of the country. It showed that 84 per cent of the people do not know how legal protection and facilities are available to us in helping those injured in road accidents. Even police personnel, doctors, lawyers and hospital staff are not aware of this law.
I fully agree with this survey. This survey clarifies why people are hesitant or afraid to help the injured in a road accident. There is a fear of police harassment in people’s minds. They fear that the police will interrogate them repeatedly about the accident and get them to make rounds of the police station. Instead of helping someone who saved life, the police would treat him like a criminal. If somebody takes the injured to a nearby hospital, the attitude of doctors and staff remains the same. They think it is a police case. The feeling of saving a life is wonderful, but still we go numb and are indifferent to help. Who is responsible for this?
Central and state governments are responsible for this unfortunate situation. Those who move forward to save someone’s life in a road accident gets adequate protection through rules and regulations. The police can not ask for personal information from those helping the accident victims. They can not call them to police station again or in the name of questioning. Now private or government hospitals do not have to wait to file a police case and start treating the injured immediately. I would like to congratulate the Delhi police and Delhi government in this regard. The government and the police are constantly spreading awareness via media on measures to help people avoid road accidents, and legal protection to those who help the injured. I have not seen the Centre or any other State government as sensitive in this case. The Mumbai police, by putting up a couple of hoardings, thinks that its duty is over.
People want to help the victims of road accidents, but they do not know about their legal rights. They still think that police will only implicate them if they help the accident victims. Not only illiterate but the highly educated too are not able to help the injured due to this ignorance. Because of this ignorance, thousands of those injured in road accidents breathe their last every year. Social and educational organisations have to cooperate in this work by going into educational institutions and residential areas. However, I appeal to you: Whatever the impediments, come forward to help and save lives so that people can say in this dark moment of humanity:
Chand haathon mein hi sahi mehfooj hain
Shukra hain insaaniyat ka bhi vajood hain
People want to help those injured in the road accidents, but they do not know about their legal rights. They still think that the police will implicate them on helping the accident victims.