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Afraid of lending a helping hand?

Baishali Adak , Nov 28, 2012, DHNS:

On the road

A 75-year-old retired IAS officer is hit by a car in Gurgaon. Fearing the mob that gathers around, the car inmates promise to take him to the hospital, but dump him at a village nearby.

In another recent incident, a man is hit by two bikers in Sahibabad, who agree to admit him to a clinic closeby. They are now untraceable with the injured man who could be either alive or dead.

These are, but, two of the many road accident cases where culprits flee for fear of punishment and passersby turn a blind eye to avoid ‘unnecessary legal hassles.’ Is it really that ‘troublesome’ to help a person dying a slow death, who could survive if only we lent a helping hand? Metrolife finds out.

Anita Roy, Additional DCP, Traffic, says, “If a passerby dials 100 and informs us of an accident, we only ask if they witnessed the incident. If yes, then we request them for information which is vital for investigation; if no, then there is no further questioning. I would request commuters to not take this as harassment. This is only a small cooperation with law enforcement agencies to help the poor person who has met with this misfortune.”

In case you see a person injured on the road and don’t want to go by the police route, you can simply dial 102 – the emergency number of CATS ambulance. Rakesh Kumar, Deputy Secretary, Health and Family Welfare (Delhi govt) and Administrative Officer, CATS, says, “Our network consists of 101 ambulances and is spread across Delhi, which means that we reach a spot within an average 10 minutes of receiving a call. Trust us, we just pick up the injured, and don’t question anybody.”

To hear it from a commoner who has actually helped numerous road accident victims, and never gotten into ‘trouble,’ Metrolife spoke to Piyush Tewari, founder of Save Life Foundation. He informs, “It is a stereotype which comes from the past. The conduct of the police has improved vastly over the years and no one bothers you if you have just brought in a road accident victim.”

“The ‘hassle’ happens if you have witnessed the incident. The police takes your statement and you are required to come to the court every time there is a hearing to testify your account. We at the Save Life Foundation, however, have filed a petition in the court requesting for a ‘Good Samaritan law.’ This law, operational in most countries, allows the witness to just give his statement in writing once and never visit the court. We are expecting the judgement by the end of this month.”

As for those who actually end up causing the accident, Piyush says, “Please treat this as an ‘accident’ only. You did not have personal enmity with the victim and the police will not treat you as a devil if you help the injured and submit yourself.”

“If you were not at fault, then the police will book you under Negligent driving act and possibly let you off with a fine. If you decide, however, to abandon your victim, or dump him as in the Gurgaon and Sahibabad cases, you will be hiding from the police all your life, booked for Culpable Homicide when caught, and languish in jail for a good seven years.” Take your pick.


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