India embarked on a bout of soul-searching yesterday over a shocking video showing passersby ignoring the pleas of a desperate father after his wife and daughter were killed in a road accident.
The CCTV footage surfaced late on Monday showing the man cradling his injured son next to his overturned motorbike and calling for help as his wife and eight-month-old daughter lay bloodied on the road.
Police say he was ignored for 40 minutes inside a newly built tunnel in Jaipur, with a stream of cars, buses and motorbikes driving past.
“That kind of failure is very, very common on the roads,” said campaigner Mridul Bhasin, who works for the Muskaan road safety group, told cable channel CNN-IBN. “This is happening day in, day out every minute in our country. People die and we turn blind eye and go where we need to go.”
The Mail Today tabloid daily headlined “Callous India drives past mishap victims,” while the Hindu newspaper said the incident had “brought to life civilian apathy.”
“It’s the duty of all people to take such victims to hospital because lives could be saved,” Jaipur traffic police chief Lata Manoj said in a televised interview.
A worker in a toll booth noticed the stricken family and called the police, who arrived on the scene and transferred the mother and daughter to the SMS hospital in Jaipur, where a doctor said that they had died before arriving.
The man and his son, who suffered light injuries, were discharged.
The accident also spotlighted the routine flouting of traffic regulations — the motorbike was carrying four people without helmets and was traveling in the tunnel despite a ban on two-wheelers.