At least 13 homebound working class people from Gazipur were killed as a rod-laden truck carrying them upturned in a roadside ditch of Dhaka-Rangpur highway at Jundah of Palashbari in Gaibandha Thursday morning as people continue to travel by microbuses and goods-laden pick-up vans and trucks defying government’s travel ban.
All the victims are males and aged between seven and 60 years and the truck driver had took them on iron rods and put tarpaulin on them and tied it with the truck so that none could understand whether the truck was carrying passengers defying ban, Palashbari police station officer-in-charge Masudur Rahman from the spot told New Age.
Gobindapur highway police station officer-in-charge Abdul Quader Jelani said that the driver and his assistant fled after the accident and they left Dhaka with iron rods and took the victims on the way at Gazipur.
He said that they could identify eight of the victims until 8:45pm. They are – Golam Bhuiyan Sheikh, 60, and Md Soaid, 7, of village Dhorashanta, Md Ishak, 35, and Al-Amin, 14, of village 10 no Sallerhat and Imran, 20 of village Bara Alampur under Pirganj upazila in Rangpur, Shariful Islam of village Ramchandrapur under Kawnia upazila in Rangpur, Mohsin Ali, 18 of Chhota Bhagabanpur under Palashbari upazila in Gaibandha and Mizanur Rahman of village Karpura under Ulipur in Kurigram.
He said that they were yet to identify the owner of the truck or its driver and his assistant as they were yet to complete identifying the victims.
In the backdrop of deaths in repeated accidents of passenger carrying trucks and pick-up vans, the road trans port and highways department in a press release on Thursday said that carrying passengers on goods laden vehicles was a punishable offence under Road Transport Act and the government would take strict legal action if anyone found carrying passengers in goods laden vehicles.
Palashbari police station officer-in-charge Masudur Rahman told New Age that the Rangpur-bound truck from Dhaka upturned in a roadside ditch of Dhaka-Rangpur highway at Jundah of Palashbari in Gaibandha at about 8:00am when it was raining in the area.
He said that the locals saw the abandoned and upturned truck and informed it to police and the police as well as fire service men rushed to the spot and began rescue operation.
‘When we salvaged the truck, removed the iron rods from the ditch and found 13 bodies in tarpaulin under the iron rods,’ he said.
‘The driver and helper first loaded rod, covered them with tarpaulin and tied them. They then took the 13 people, covered them with another tarpaulin and tied them too. They did so to hide that they were carrying passengers defying ban,’ OC Masudur said.
He said that the Gobindaganj highway police took the bodies and truck to their police station.
OC Quader said that they were under process of lodging a case in this connection.
On Tuesday, at least seven people were killed and 16 others injured in three road accidents as people had been travelling by goods-laden pick-up vans and trucks defying ban.
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