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09th-Sep-2018

Systematic and hassle free road communication still a far cry

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A DHAKA court yesterday sent Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity's secretary general Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury to jail after rejecting separate prayers seeking his remand and bail in a case filed over extortion. Earlier, police produced him before the court with a fresh five-day remand prayer.
According to the remand prayer, it was revealed during primary investigation that the accused used to demand and extort money from various transport workers' associations. Prior to it, he was placed on a one-day remand for interrogation hours after he was arrested on Thursday.
What is significant is that the road safety campaigner was arrested from his Sanarpar house in Narayanganj two days after the extortion case was filed with Mirpur Model Police Station. His wife and fellow campaigners termed the case "false". Not only that, executive member of Jatri Kalyan Samity Shamsuddin Chowdhury, who was present during the arrest, said "charges against him are false. "He has been vocal against road accidents and anarchy in transport sector. This arrest was made to gag his voice. Police is just making charges up," he claimed as per local media reports.
Which has drawn our attention is that -the organisation is known for coming up with statistics on road and transport-related issues. They regularly come up with statistics on road crash deaths in the follow-up of Eid. In the association's last public briefing before arrest of Mozammel Hoque, the organization had claimed that 259 people were killed on roads during Eid-ul-Azha holidays - what it said was a rise from previous times. No doubt their disclosure may be embarrassing for the ministry and departments concerned when the minister repeatedly claims that everything is alright.
After the student protests against poor road safety we thought the authorities could bring back discipline in this sector. But we see that systematic and hassle-free road communication is still a far cry.