Ira Singhal, who made it to the headlines this year for topping the civil services examination, experienced the shocking apathy that is symptomatic of public response to accidents in India. On her way back to Delhi from Mussoorie, Singhal and her fellow travellers encountered a battered Maruti. The car had rammed into a tractor and the driver was severely injured. Singhal and her friends stopped their car and tried their best to help the accident victims. While they managed to take one of them to the hospital, the other died on on spot. However, what was most shocking is, not a single car on the Delhi-Meerut highway stopped to help them or the accident victims, though they all slowed down to take a look at the site and the bleeding victims.
Singhal put up the following post on Facebook:
Singhal concludes with a sense of deep frustration, "For all that these drivers knew, I was a tiny girl asking them to help in the dark night on a busy road on the scene of a horrible accident. And they all refused. This is our world. This is us."
This is not the first time that such an incident of apathy has come to light. In the December 2012 gangrape case, the victim and her injured friend were dumped on the roadside in Delhi, bleeding and naked. The victim's friend tried to flag down several vehicles, but no one stopped, according to a statement given by him to the police. They lay on the road, crying for help for over 20 minutes before some commuters came to their aid.
In 2103, a shocking CCTV footage surfaced on the internet. A man, whose wife and 8-month old daughter were mowed down by a truck was desperately trying to get vehicles to stop on the busy Jaipur highway but no one paid any attention to him. The man was riding a bike, with his wife and two children riding pillion. A truck had rammed into them and sped away, killing the woman and the baby girl. The footage shows the bodies lying on the road as the man and his son desperately seek help - and not a single car stops to help them.
Singhal's frustration, therefore, is not quite off the mark.
Singhal earned accolades from all over India after she topped the civil services exams especially because she had fought crippling disability to ace the them. She suffers from a rare spinal cord disease which left her stunted and also doesn't allow her to twist her arms completely.
She had herself not had it easy while securing a suitable appointment, despite clearing the examination in 2010. She had secured 813 rank but was denied an appropriate job profile because of her disability.
After fighting a four years-long legal battle with the Department of Personnel & Training, the Revenue Ministry, UPSC, and Ministry of Social Justice & Welfare, Singhal finally got a ruling in her favour in 2014.
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