Monday January 22, 2018

Here is why no-one offers helping hand in India if you meet with an accident

In a 2013 survey, the SaveLIFE foundation found that around 74% of Indians were unlikely to help an accident victim, whether alone or with other bystanders

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A car accident in Rabindra Sadan Area, Kolkata. Image source: Wikipedia
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  • Supreme Court named road accidents a ‘National Emergency’
  • Onlookers are hesitant to help victims due to fear of wrongful police custody of hefty medical fees
  • SaveLIFE, founded by Piyush Tewari, is a pioneering organisation to address the issue of road rage

In a country with the world’s most densely populated roads and notorious rash driving, road accidents are not too uncommon. In conditions like these, it falls upon pedestrians and bystanders to help the victims of road accidents with utter promptness and empathy.

Even as people bleed to death on the roads crying desperately for help, onlookers show sheer apathy in not helping them. In some cases, they gather around and then continue looking, but that does not help any better. When interviewed, the foremost reason most of these people mention is that they don’t want to involve themselves in unwanted criminal cases. The policemen more, more often than not, assume people help road victims out of guilt. Apart from this, there are concerns that they may be trapped as potential victims in court cases, or the hospital may force them to pay hefty medical fees to save the victim.

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Road rage is becoming a growing worriment in India, especially with a fast growing population and cut throat traffic on the streets.

  • 1 million lives have been lost on roads in India in the past decade
  • 20 children lose their lives everyday, thanks to road accidents
  • 15 people are killed every day owing to road accidents in India
  • 5 million people have been seriously injured in the last decade
  • 3 percent of its annual GDP is lost by India on road accidents
road accidents
SLF model for SaveLIFE

SaveLIFE foundation is a powerful non-governmental organization committed to improving road safety and emergency care services across India. Piyush Tewari, a social activist who founded this organization, was deeply moved by his 17 year old cousin’s death 10 years ago. An immense research commenced following this incident, which finally ended up in the setup of SaveLIFE.

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In a 2013 survey, the foundation found that around 74% of Indians were unlikely to help an accident victim, whether alone or with other bystanders. This number is staggeringly high, and to encourage people to begin reaching out to authorities in road cases, The Supreme Court was approached. In 2013, The Supreme Court labeled road rage as a ‘National Emergency’.

Today, these bystanders, who want to help the victims of road accidents but are reluctant to do so on grounds of undue involvement, have legal protection from the Supreme Court. A few guidelines were issued such as:

  • allowing those who call for emergency services about a road crash to retain anonymity
  • forbidding hospitals from demanding payment from an onlooker who takes an injured person to hospital
  • providing them with protection from criminal liability

Piyush Tewari’s actions have helped lots of road rage cases, but like the apex court said, this is indeed a National Emergency, and until we start targeting the general mentalities of people towards social help, little can be changed through legal help.

-by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @saurabhbodas96

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  • devika todi

    i have heard of many such accidents myself, where the onlookers do nothing to help. when an accident occurs, the first few hours are critical. help should be provided by all. it can lead to the difference between life and death.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    This happens because the onlookers are then troubled by the police later while investigating

  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    However, it is first duty to help someone in need. Spread awareness for kindness sake!

  • devika todi

    i have heard of many such accidents myself, where the onlookers do nothing to help. when an accident occurs, the first few hours are critical. help should be provided by all. it can lead to the difference between life and death.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    This happens because the onlookers are then troubled by the police later while investigating

  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    However, it is first duty to help someone in need. Spread awareness for kindness sake!

Next Story

India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.