Students occupy Dhaka streets demanding road safety in Bangladesh

Students protest the death of two students in a road accident on Dhaka Airport Road. Image: Wikimedia Commons by Asive Chowdhury CC: BY-SA 4.0

Wearing school uniforms and carrying school bags, tens of thousands of students have spilled their anger while shouting slogans on the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh since last Sunday, July 29, when two college students died in a road accident.

Diya Khanam Mim (17) and Abdul Karim Rajib (18), students of Shaheed Ramiz Uddin School and College, were killed and a number of students were injured when a speeding bus lost control and ran over a dozen students waiting for transport on Dhaka Airport Road.

Hundreds of their classmates initially took to the streets in protests that gained momentum as thousands more joined in solidarity on a daily basis, shutting down traffic with their demands.

They are calling for increased road safety, harsher punishment for drivers involved in accidents and that authorities ensure that only authorized drivers would get behind the wheel. Parents and non-students have also supported their demands.

The students’ rage was sparked by a remark by Shajahan Khan, the Shipping Minister and executive president of Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation when he questioned the high school students why they had not reacted to the news that 33 people died in a bus crash in India on Saturday.

After widespread condemnation and demands for his resignation, Shahjahan Khan apologized for his comments but said he will not resign.

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