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|Volume 11 |Issue 36| September 14, 2012 ||
BRTC Bus and Ticket Checking Incidents
I was going to my office by a BRTC bus the other day. As I was hopping in, the ticket-checker asked one of the passengers whether the latter had collected his ticket. When the passenger replied in negative, the checker requested him to collect a permanent card, (ie an electronic card which would relieve him from the hassles of ticket collection from the counters everyday. But the inconsiderate man denied the offer, and went so far as to suggest that it is not illegal to travel without ticket in a counter-service bus. He also occupied a seat which deprived other passengers with tickets of a seat. This incident shocked me and some other passengers. But none of us raised our voice, since this is the habit we always practice. But if the authority takes stern measures to stop this and create awareness among the public, the collective habit will change.
Under the Same Sun
Last month before the Eid, my husband and I were returning home from a dinner. We had to take a rickshaw, because it was late and no other means of transport was available. After a while the elderly rickshaw puller said that his home at a slum in Muhammadpur had caught fire a few days ago and that his daughter had no clothes to wear, because everything in his place was burned.
I was sympathetic and gave him some extra money, and when I reached home, I told him to come the next day. When he showed up on the following day, I gave him some of my old dresses and some money. The man seemed extremely grateful and relieved as he left. I wonder why some hard working people have to beg for other people's old clothes while some others can maintain an unimaginably extravagant life in the same country.
WHEN THE TABLES TURN
Yesterday I was going to Dhanmondi from Eskaton with my fiancée. As we turned onto Mirpur Road from Elephant Road, a traffic policeman signalled for us to stop and park on the side of the road. We were surprised because we had not been speeding and hadn't broken any traffic rules. He came up to our car wearing a nasty scowl and asked to see my fiancée's license and registration. He was referring to us as tumi and his tone was extremely rude. He refused to tell us why we were stopped and instead turned to me with a leer and said he had seen me before standing on the street at Katabon (implying I am a prostitute). This upset me quite a bit and I replied saying he must have seen me before as I am a journalist working for the Daily Star and have done a story with my team on police harassing civilians. I took out my press ID and recorder and asked him once again why he had stopped us. His tone changed immediately after this and with a sunny smile he said it was a random check and we had nothing to worry about and this time, he referred to me as “Madam.” I replied saying I had no idea traffic police left their duty to do random checks when there were check posts everywhere to do that job. He seemed flustered at this and made no reply. At this point, my fiancée lost his patience and let him know that he is related to a member of the parliament. Hearing this, the traffic policeman stood up straight, returned our paperwork, apologised and sent us on our way. It made me wonder for the millionth time (as this has happened before with other law enforcement officers), what would have happened had we been two people with no connections and nothing to protect us from this corrupt policeman who probably just wanted to intimidate us enough to extract a bribe. What a disgrace.
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