Bangladesh: Mourning at schools today

by Priyo Australia | July 12, 2011 7:28 pm

Educational institutions across the country will mourn today the loss of 44 lives in Monday’s road crash in Mirsarai of Chittagong.

As condolence poured in from across the country, ministers and education officials yesterday rushed to Mirsarai to be with the bereaved families.

No words were soothing enough for the victims’ families and friends who brought out mourning processions and gathered at the playground of Abu Torab Bahumukhi High School, which alone lost 33 students in the accident.

The 44 died when a truck bringing back over 70 students from a football match turned over into a roadside ditch. Around 30 survived the crash, and 12 of them are undergoing treatment at different hospitals.

On Monday night, Kabir Ahmed Nizam, chairman of Mayani union parishad, filed a case with the Mirsarai Police Station, accusing Mofiz, who was at the wheel of the truck.

Police are searching for Mofiz who fled soon after the plunge.

Eyewitnesses, survivors and locals told The Daily Star yesterday that reckless driving was indeed the cause of the crash.

Mofiz, a helper of the truck owned by Haji Rice Mill, was in a hurry as he was supposed to go to Feni to bring a rice consignment for the mill, head operator of the mill Habib told The Daily Star.

Of those dead, 42 were students (names on Page-2) and two local football fans. Identity of one of the locals could not be known till 8:00pm yesterday.

Thirty-three of those dead were from Abu Torab Bahumukhi High School; three from Abu Torab Government Primary School; two from Abu Torab Senior Madrasa and Govt Primary School; and two from Abu Torab Fazil Madrasa. Besides, there were two HSC students from Prof Kamal Uddin Chowdhury College.

Our correspondents report from Mirsarai: No class was held yesterday at the educational institutions in four unions of Mirsarai–Mayani, Moghadia, Khoyachhora and Shairkhali.

On the first day of a three-day mourning announced by the upazila administration, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid and Industries Minister Dilip Barua joined a rally at Abu Torab High School.

Standing in front of a gathering still numb with grief, the education minister broke down in tears.

“We are taking many steps for the betterment of education as well as for the students. But will it be worth if the students lose their lives in such tragic accident?” asked a sobbing Nahid.

Nothing can compensate for this loss, he added. “We have come here only to share our sorrows with you. The whole nation is with you at this sad moment.”

He pledged Tk 25,000 as financial help from his ministry for each of the dead students’ families and Tk 5,000 for the injured.

Dilip Barua announced that a monument will be set up in the locality in memory of the students. He declared that his ministry will give Tk 10,000 to each of the (deceased) victims’ families and Tk 5,000 to the injured.

Prof Noman Ur Rashid, director general of Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, and Nurul Huda, chairman of Chittagong Educational Board, were present at the meeting that ended around noon.

The ministers later visited houses of 20 victims in three different unions.

Upazila Nirbahi Officer Sayed Kutub said 12 of the victims’ families received financial aid from the relief and rehabilitation ministry yesterday.

Meanwhile, the education ministry yesterday asked students, teachers, officials and staff of the institutions to wear black badges and pray for eternal peace of the children.

In a release, the primary and mass education ministry directed primary schools across the country to hold milad and doa mahfil today for peace of the departed souls.

On January 31, 2003, a road accident in Baluchhara area in Bayezid Police Station in the port city killed 11 young cricketers. A three-wheeler auto tempo was carrying the cricketers from Firingi Bazar to Fatehabad High School ground when it collided with a human hauler, killing the 11.

Tears in heaven[1]

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