Drunk driving victim’s family waits for a flicker of hopeMay 25th, 2010 - 5:48 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) He was their only support, the breadwinner of a family of 14. On Saturday night when a drunk woman driving a Honda City rammed into Raj Kumar’s auto, he was killed - leaving behind a hapless family which is now desperately looking for a flicker of hope.
The culprit, 30-year-old Nivedita Singh, wife of Colonel Rahul Singh, rammed her car into an auto in an inebriated state, killing two people - the auto driver and one passenger. Two other passengers were also injured.
Three days after the accident, Kumar’s aged parents, his children and other family members sat on the steps of their tiny house in Uttam Nagar, looking lost and helpless.
Raj Kumar’s brother said: “He was the only bread earner of the family..now what will happen to us? I am also physically challenged and don’t have a regular job. I may earn a little by doing odd jobs, but how will I ever be able to take care of such a big family?”
Continuing with tears in his eyes, he said: “He had five daughters, how will I look after them? Suddenly darkness has swept into our lives and there is no light of hope. We hope that the government helps us in some way so that I can at least feed the children.”
As the tiny girls sat crying with slates in their hands that had the words ‘Papa roti do’ (Papa, give us food) written on them, Kumar’s aged father said: “He was my pillar of strength. I don’t know what will happen to the family now”.
Singh was charged with rash and negligent driving and taken into custody but was later released on bail.
Activist Prince Singhal who runs the NGO Community Against Drunken Driving (CADD) said that Raj Kumar’s is a heart wrenching case, but is one of the many that takes place in the city everyday.
“The culprit was booked under Section 304 A, which makes the case a bailable offence. Why? There are lives lost, families destroyed, yet the enforcement of law is so weak in the case of drunk driving. The police should have booked the culprit under Section 304 which would have made the offence non-bailable with 10 years’ imprisonment,” Singhal told IANS.
According to Singhal, who has been campaigning against drunk driving for the past 10 years, at least 250 people lose their lives to drunk driving everyday in the country.
“The problem is weak enforcement and failure to take drunk driving as a serious crime. One should remember that drunk driving is an intentional crime,” he said.
“I met Transport Minister Kamal Nath four months ago and asked him to amend the Motor Vehicles Act so that cases such as these are made offensive and non-bailable. I also suggested that there should be an independent commission to look into such cases. He said that work is going on in the matter,” Singhal added.
According to CADD, the number of drunk driving cases has been on the rise over the years - from 4,39,255 accidents in 2005 to 6,00,000 in 2009. Eightytwo percent of the people who get killed in such accidents are from the poorer sections of society.
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Tags: auto driver, breadwinner, cadd, culprit, drunk woman, flicker, honda city, light of hope, negligent driving, ngo community, nivedita, odd jobs, offence, pillar, rahul singh, raj kumar, rash, singhal, slates, tiny girls