Three days after an SUV ran over 13 homeless persons on a sidewalk in Kashmere Gate killing one, another driver, who police said was drunk, ran over three rickshaw-pullers sleeping on a pavement on Ring Road near Rajghat in Central Delhi on Wednesday night. One of them succumbed to his injuries on Thursday morning, police said.
“The driver, Satyaprakash (37), was heading towards Kashmere Gate around 11 pm in a Tata Safari. A little distance off Shantivan on the Ring Road, the driver, who was drunk, lost control of the vehicle and ran over three rickshaw-pullers sleeping on the pavement. They were admitted to LNJP hospital. One of the three, Munna, succumbed to his injuries at 5 am on Thursday. Satyaprakash tested positive for driving under the influence of alcohol and has been arrested on charges of negligence,” Additional Commissioner of Police (Central) Alok Kumar said.
Police said two of the rickshaw-pullers, Munna (57) and Gyanbahadur (55), were grievously injured while Tiwari (30) received minor injuries. They were rushed to the hospital, where Munna, a migrant from Kanpur, succumbed to his injuries.
Police said at the time of the incident, Satyaprakash was driving the owner of the vehicle and his son towards Kashmere Gate area. None of them were seriously injured in the accident.
“The car first ran precariously close to the right flank of the Ring Road and then steered sharply to the left, running over the pavement. It burst a tyre due to the impact and turned turtle before it came to a stop on the service lane,” a police officer said.
Ehsan (30), a rickshaw-puller who claimed to be an eyewitness, said, “I was sitting here on the service lane, having my dinner, when the car crashed onto the pavement. A loud noise, which must have been the tyre bursting, stunned us all. The car turned turtle and we rushed to pull those who were stuck inside. We caught them and handed them over to police. A beat constable was on the service lane when the incident happened. He contacted police, who came and took our friends to hospital. A rickshaw was also damaged.”
Ehsan said they have nowhere to sleep, except the pavements. “Police chase us away from Ghata Masjid park, near Rajghat, so we are forced to sleep on the pavements. We have no homes. The only other option left for us is to sleep in our rickshaws. Sometimes, police do not let us sleep on the pavements also. Where then, should we go?” he said.
After two cases of drivers running over homeless people sleeping on pavements in the last four days, Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Mukesh Chandra told Newsline, “We plan to considerably step up drives to test and curb drink-driving in the city. We are planning to increase the number and visibility of traffic police personnel deployed, especially at night.”