Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan has visited the grieving family of Diya Khanam Mim, one of the two students killed in a road crash.
“I might have smiled while speaking which may have hurt you. Actually I was speaking about another issue. I didn’t know it was about the accident. I am realy sorry for this. Please forgive me,” the minster told Mim’s parents on Wednesday.
On Sunday, Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment College students Mim and Abdul Karim were died and several others injured when a bus ploughed into a group of students waiting for transport at Kurmitola o the Airport Road.
Students from different schools and colleges have been protesting against the deaths, blocking streets, in Dhaka.
Their demands include capital punishment of the driver responsible for the incident and government steps to ensure road safety.
Shajahan, the executive president of Bangladesh Road Transport Workers’ Federation, faced questions about the deaths at a shipping ministry event later on Sunday.
A smiling Shajahan said much more accidents occur in other countries but the authorities there do not face such public reaction.
Facing intense criticism, and as demanded by the protesting students, the minister apologised on Tuesday for his ‘inadvertent mistake’.
As the protests continued on Wednesday, he went to Mim’s home at Mohakhali in the evening.Mim’s father Jahangir Alam, who is also a bus driver, told the minister: “It’s not an accident but murder. They have deliberately killed my daughter. These unskilled drivers are responsible for the current state of the country.”
“I am also a driver. I want justice for this murder. Please check whether the drivers have licence,” he urged the minister.
Jahangir also demanded that the government take action against unfit vehicles through mobile courts, set up speed-breakers and limit vehicles’ speed in front of all educational institutions.
“I am driving car for 27 drivers but was never involved with any accident. Why my daughter should be killed by these unskilled drivers? I want tough punishment of those responsible for my daughter’s death,” he said.
“Today, all the students have taken to the street for justice. No-one will be able to buy me out,” he added.