India in shock over footage showing crowds ignoring accident victim’s pleas

June 23rd, 2013

Delhi: Footage showing hundreds of vehicles passing a father pleading for help beside the bodies of his wife and eight-month-old baby have prompted outrage and shock in India.

Images show Kanhaiyalal Raigher holding his five-year-old son by the hand, attempting in vain to flag down passing traffic for 10 minutes.

The family were riding together on a motorbike through a tunnel in the north-western city of Jaipur on Sunday afternoon when the accident occurred at around 2.30pm.

Reports said Raigher tried to overtake a truck which then hit the bike. His 24-year-old wife and the baby she was holding were both killed or died shortly afterwards. The family were on their way to visit Raigher’s in-laws.

Television stations showed the footage repeatedly. “Their tragedy, our problem,” ran one headline.

India has the highest rate of road accidents per vehicle in the world with around 150,000 people dying and several times that number seriously injured each year. Traffic rules are habitually flouted, vehicles are badly maintained, drivers are often untrained, policemen easily bribed, and punishments for dangerous driving rare.

“We saw the CCTV footages [sic] in which the truck involved in the mishap sped away, while Kanhaiyalal kept crying for help for 10 minutes. Several sports utility vehicles, cars and trucks passed by them. However, no one stopped to help the victims,” the local IANS agency quoted a police officer as saying.

The driver of the truck involved in the accident fled the scene.

An ambulance was finally called by road maintenance workers.

There have been other infamous incidents in which seriously injured people have been ignored by crowds or passing traffic.

In December a 23-year-old woman, who had been brutally gang raped by six men, and a male friend, both badly injured, lay beside a major road on the outskirts of Delhi for 40 minutes before the emergency services were called. That incident provoked a bout of introspection.

“You often hear that this is due to a decline of morals or globalisation but the truth is that the deck is stacked against the would-be helper,” said Vivek Dehejia, a Mumbai-based economist and author of the recently published Indianomix which analyses modern Indian society.

“There is a murky legal situation and no ‘good samaritan law’ as elsewhere. And the more general fact that people fear the police and don’t want to get involved.”


Entry Filed under: Delhi

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