Gurgaon protests death of doctor, his daughter

The gloom and consternation that enveloped Gurgaon, following the brutal mowing down of Dr Pankaj Gupta and his three-year-old daughter by a rashly driven bus, has given way to seething anger and protests over the laws that govern road accidents and death. 

Fatalities under the wheel are not new to Haryana, which is crisscrossed by major roads and highways, but what has shocked residents of the tech city is the impunity with which the rogue driver has been let off. 

Recent reports suggest that the offending driver may have even fled to Rajasthan after securing bail. 

Many Gurgaon residents have now taken to social media to express their fury over how authorities have conducted themselves in this case.

Neela Kaushik of the online group GurgaonMoms, which has over 4,000 members, says the community is “deeply hurt over the incident.” 

“It has left us with the very sorry feeling that anybody can run over you on the roads and get away with it. Is life that cheap in our city?,” she asks, “If this is the example authorities set for people, then every driver would think that he is the king of the roads and drive any which way he wants.”

Going beyond “just candle marches and protests,” the group has now decided to 
contact political parties to seek redressal. 

“The family is extremely disappointed. 
 
It’s important that they be provided immediate relief,” she asserts.  
     
Prince Singhal, founder-director of CADD (Campaign Against Drunk driving), says amendment in laws under which rash drivers are booked is something that they have been fighting for over a decade now. 

There is no uniform policy and police persons in different States follow their fancy in charging errant drivers under different sections. 

Sometimes, when the victims approach courts, the sections are changed and harsher 
punishments meted out. 

But these take years by which time the aggrieved families are totally heartbroken.

“The police just books them under Section 304 A of the Indian Penal Code – causing death by negligence – which is a bailable offence,” he underlines, “It is only logical that cases, such as that of Dr Pankaj in Gurgaon, need to be dealt as ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder.’''

Sehba Imam of another influential online group ‘Let’s Walk Gurgaon’ says the impression that such incidents give is that Gurgaon is a lawless world and residents are helpless in the face of such mishaps. 

“I have previously, too, lost a friend in a road accident here in Gurgaon and these are heart-wrenching incidents,” she says “There seems to be a big disconnect between the police and people here. I hope the authorities take the right corrective measures soon and give us a semblance of assurance.”
 

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