Probe into Titash’s death unsatisfactory

The Daily Star  September 07, 2019

Probe into Titash’s death unsatisfactory

Ordinary citizens deserve better

On July 31, we wrote an editorial about the tragic death of Titash Ghosh in Madaripur due to a three-hour delay of the ferry carrying him that had to wait for a high official to arrive, despite the pleadings of the family who needed to get the injured boy to Dhaka for a much-needed surgery. As a result of the subsequent public outcry, a writ and High Court order, the authorities held an enquiry headed by an additional secretary of the Cabinet Division, whose report has now been submitted to the attorney general’s office.

It comes as no surprise that the probe has found no “logical grounds” to hold the joint secretary in question responsible for the ferry delay. Rather, it has mentioned that some terminal (ghat) officials are to blame. It does not stand up to logic that without specific instructions, ferry officials would whimsically hold up a ferry for three hours in spite of pleadings by the family concerned. According to reports, waiting vehicles were not allowed to board the ferry till it was ascertained that the official in question was nearby. Due to the prevalence of an unwritten “VIP” culture, officials at district levels and those on tour routinely abuse their power and office to take undue advantage where public facilities are concerned.

In spite of all the assurances of a fair enquiry, we are left with a probe report conducted by the peers of the person accused and hence its findings do not come as a surprise at all. This sort of report will do nothing to do away with the “VIP” culture that reduces ordinary citizens to humiliation, hardship or even death. We hope some remedial measures will follow from all this so that the death of Titash does not go in vain.

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