Wednesday, August 5, 2020 | ePaper

If drowning of people is murder then minister can`t avoid complicity

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A NOVICE was allegedly at the helm moving the Moyur-2 astern when the vessel slammed into a smaller launch, causing it to sink and drown at least 32 people in the Buriganga at the capital's Shyambazar area yesterday. Many others are still feared missing. In footage possibly from a security camera, Moyur-2 was seen moving in reverse ramming the ill-fated Morning Bird, making it capsize with over 50 people onboard, as per a report of our daily.
Manjurul Kabir, Chief Engineer and Ship Surveyor at the Shipping Department said it was a human error and gross negligence on the part of the Moyur-2. Meanwhile, State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said that the incident seemed pre-planned and was murder, based on the CCTV footage which he viewed after visiting the spot.
The reason for the accident remains the same for most launch accidents -- the Morning Bird was built in 2012 had a capacity to carry 90 passengers at day time and 60 at night. Although both launches had fitness certificates, the National Committee to Protect Shipping, Roads and Railways said the Morning Bird had structural flaws.
It took a media report about faulty launches to find out the flawed but still running vessels. But the main question remains as to why it takes a media report to find out that flawed launches are still operating? Why can't the administration proactively ban those launches from plying the rivers?
These launches are nothing but death traps for their hapless passengers -- at least some of whom are doomed to a watery grave at some point of the lifetime of the launch. The authorities are supposed to carry out a special survey and ask the launch owner for special docking. But that did not occur.
So despite whatever the Minister says -- if murder has indeed occurred the Shipping Department is also directly culpable for the homicide. After all it's their job to ensure that quality launches are allowed to ply on the rivers. Allowing these flawed launches to ply ensures only that death for an unhappy few is always around the corner.
If drowning of so many people is murder then the minister cannot avoid complicity. He should be charged as abettor to murder.

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