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India: Fact finding report for the road accident involving 13 homeless of Nigam bodh ghat, Kashmere gate, on 18th August 2014.

25 August 2014

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FACT FINDING REPORT FOR THE ROAD ACCIDENT INVOLVING 13 HOMELESS RESIDENTS OF NIGAM BODH GHAT, KASHMERE GATE, ON 18TH AUGUST 2014.

On the 17th of August, (Sunday) at 10:10 pm, an SUV automobile (XYLO, with no. DL7CM1368) on its way from Kashmere Gate towards Jamuna Bazaar, swerved towards a road divider and injured 13 people, some of whom are till today, in a critical condition.

At 10:10 pm on the 17thof August, one Rishi Kumar, over speeding on ring road, swerved his vehicle at a divider at Nigam Bodh Ghat, causing the car’s tyre at the non-driver’s end to lift. The pressure applied by the driver caused the tyre at the non- driver’s end to drop flat on the ground. By this time, the tyre at driver’s end lifted and came heavily onto the divider itself. The inertia caused due to a great degree of acceleration ensured that the vehicle did not stop, causing hit the divider instantly. In effect, however, the entire incident left 13 homeless residents of the area, who were at the time sleeping/ resting at the divider, with injuring ranging from heavy-duty wounds to dislocated shoulders and compound fractures.

The field staff at CES’s shelters were informed about the incident at 10:30 pm on the same day, when Ranjit, a homeless resident of the Pushta, and an eye witness to the incident, was returning to the Pushta from Jamuna Bazaar.

‘I could not believe my eyes. I panicked. I did not know what to do when I saw that over 10 homeless men were injured. I immediately tried to call the police, who did not pick my phone. Then, I called Sunil ji (Shelter manager, CES).’ said Ranjit, when asked about the incident. Sunil ji and Satyavir called the police at 100 and ran to the site of the incident where they learnt that the driver and his accomplice had already called the police, while policemen stationed at a barricade less than 200 meters before this divider (in the direction of Jamuna Bazaar) reached the site for aid. At the time the field staff from CES (Satyavir, Inam and Sunil) reached the divider, the police had already arrived. The field staff learnt that 13 men had been injured in the event. Over the next 20 minutes to half an hour, 3 PCR vans took 9men (3 each) to different hospitals, while a 102 emergency ambulance , took 3 of the victims. A little before the patients were being taken to the hospital the police had taken Rishi Kumar into custody. By about 1:38 am, Satyavir got in touch with Rohini of MNGO along with one of its ambulance drivers, Irshad. The three of them visited the various hospitals to meet the victims of the accidents. In the early hours of the 18th, the 13 patients hurt were sent to different hospitals in the following manner

  • 6 men were sent to TRAUMA CENTRE near Civil Lines ( All of whom were either critical or seriously injured)
  • 4 were admitted in Aruna Asaf Ali Hospital, and
  • 3 were admitted in Bara Hindu Rao hospital.

Rohini, Satyavir and Irshad first went to Trauma Centre. Here, when they tried to talk to the victims, a doctor on duty asked the hospital security to show them the door. ‘He said that since these were serious casualties, they could not allow us to talk to them. Rohini and I both got into an argument withthe hospital staff because of this!’ said Satyavir. At about 2:00 am, the three of them reached Aruna Asaf Ali hospital, where two patients; Gautam (45) and Vipul (30) had been admitted. They were not as seriously injured as the others at the TRAUMA centre. ‘Of the 4 who were at the Aruna Asaf Ali, the other two who did not, according the the hospital staff, require admission, were bandaged and discharged before we reached the hospital.’ Says Satyavir. At 2:30 am, Satyavir and Rohini went to Hindu Rao hospital. 2 of the patients brought here, were discharged with minor injuries. The other was admitted for the night.

On the 18th of August, (Monday) CES’s health team, comprising of Phuntsok Tsering ( Medical Nurse and Program Coordinator), along with Shabana and Inam ( Health worker Shelter manager respectively) visited the Trauma Centre at Civil Lines while Lal Bahadur ( Health worker cum manager) made a trip to Hindu Rao, at about 10: am. At the trauma centre, the team retrieved the names of the patients, and learnt that Ekraj( 36) who was brought in to the hospital had passed away, while one had been referred to LNJP, leaving the Trauma centre with 4 victims. At Hindu Rao, Lal Bahadur learnt that by morning the last remaining patient at Hindu Rao had been referred to LNJP. The team was once again barred from speaking with patients. ‘Dr. Irfan, who was helpful yet hesitant, said that they were prohibited from giving us any information, essentially because their MLC’s had been made and till a specific period they were anxious of being misquoted.’ Shabana ji, in addition to this also confirmed that all 13 patients had had an MLC prepared across all hospitals. At 12:30 pm, Phuntsok, Shabana, Lal Bahadur and Inam returned to CES shelters, while a second team comprising of Javed (Program Coordinator) Satyavir and Anhad Imaan visited Aruna Asaf Ali and Trauma Centre. At Aruna Asaf Ali, the team met Gautam and Vipul, the two patients still admitted in the hospital. Javed and Anhad , spoke to the patients and took their statements;

‘I had just had dinner, and was about to go to sleep. I had almost fallen asleep, when I heard a loud noise and before I knew it, something rock solid cam and hit me. I was one of the first to be hit. Fortunately, my left leg was folded, and not stretched. I am grateful to god that nothing worse happened. A few others were very badly injured.’ Upon recollecting what else had happened, Gautam remembered that the driver got off the car and tried to run. ‘ The man driving got out of the car, which was still not stable, and ran in the direction of the road on the other side. However, he could not run in time because the police had already arrived, and he could not cross the road; perhaps in panic. Besides you’ve seen the traffic on that road, it is difficult to cross that road on any given day any way.’Gautam, is a 45 year old painter from Nagpur, Maharashtra.

Vipul, a 30 year old man, was injured on his right foot .‘I don’t remember what happened. I heard aloud noise and after I got hit I could not get up. Had I not come here I don’t know what would have happened. Vipul, is a causal labourer from Assam. Satyavir, left his phone number with the two patients, and asked them to call him on this number whenever they are discharged.

At about 2:00 pm, the team reached Trauma Centre, and were once again, denied access to the victims. One more victim, at about the same time, had now been referred to LNJP. Upon asking for Dr. Irfan, the CMO, asked the team to wait for 10 minutes. 10 minutes later, Javed and Anhad went to meet the CMO where the briefly told him about CES and it’s recovery shelter.

‘When I asked him a few things, his first reaction, was “Show me your phone first. Are you recording this interview?”He gave it back and then said that since several NGO’s had come there that day, he was not in a position to give us any information and requested us to take an appointment with the hospital’s PR officer, Mr. Ajay Behl, who he said had been given the responsibility of speaking to interested agencies’said Javed.

The team returned to the Pushta, and met Ashwin Parulkar, at 3:00 pm, where the entire team discussed what action must be taken. The field staff, along with Ashwin, Javed and Anhad decided that for the patients at LNJP and Aruna Asaf Ali, the team would send in caretakers with food and clothing, while Doctor Pradeep would visit Trauma centre.

By August 20th, Javed Khan , retrieved an update on the number of patients in different hospital. Trauma Centre, now had three patients; namely VishuDigam, (48, from Kung Vihar), Raj Kumar(30, from Jamuna Bazaar) and Vinod Ram (40, from Rajasthan) , LNJP had two of which one Naresh( 42) had been brought from Hindu Rao, while Anil and Pratvilag (ages unknown) had been discharged on the day of the incident. Gautam and Vipul were still at Aruna Asaf Ali at this time. Santosh , from Gwalior, the 4th patient from Trauma Centre was later brought to CES’s recovery shelter on the 21st of August.

On the 21st, Satyavir went to the Kashmere Gate police station to find out what had happened to the accused. He learnt that Rishi Kumar, the driver of the vehicle, had been taken to custody. An FIR (numbered 310/14) had been registered under section 304 of the IPC, which refers to, according to the act itself, culpable homicide NOT amounting to murder. Provided that this is a bail able offence, the accused was released the next dayi.e 18th of August (Monday). When asked why the FIR was registered under this section, the S.H.O claimed that there was “political pressure” in ensuring that the section is reduced. Satyavir has not received any update from the police with regard to this investigation.

As of today, 2 patients are still admitted at Trauma centre, while 2 are in LNJP, 2 ( Gautam and Vipul) are in Aruna Asaf Ali, 1 (Santosh) is at the recovery shelter, while the third patient at Trauma Centre, (VishuDigam) has gone missing from Trauma Center. The field staff are doing all they can to ensure that the victims of this incident will be taken care of. Inam, is coordination care and support for patients still at the hospital ,along with Sunil, Balgovind, Shabana ji, Satyavir and PMT members Phuntsok Tsering and Javed Khan.

This incident has captured a lot of media attention , with journalists from Deccan Herald, The Hindu and Times of India all landing up at the Pushta on the 18th of August to do a fact finding.

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