“Amma… Abba… you don't have to worry about the future… we will take care of everything
one day… and end your days of hardship”, were the last words Arifa and Dipa had uttered to
their parents. They were set on turning this dream to reality. Alas! The dream turned into
a nightmare as an out of control truck claimed their innocent lives.
Ahmed Humayun Kabir Topu
Angry at the death of the two girls, villagers nearby set the truck on fire
The two daughters, Arifa Khatun, 18, and Dipa Khatun, 13, of day labourer Rashed Ali from Diar Shahapur village of Ishwardi, Pabna were brilliant students. Arifa had appeared for HSC exams from the Upazila board this year, while Dipa was studying at grade nine of the Maniknagar High School.
It was on July 10, Sunday, that the duo met their fate. It was the day on which the irresponsible driving of a truck driver claimed the lives of the two youngsters. Like other days, they were on their way home from their English tutor's house. But unlike other days, only their lifeless bodies returned.
Based on eyewitness reports, police said that a Kushtia bound truck from Pabna had run over the two sisters. The incident had taken place at the Rooppur Natunhat intersection of the Upazila. Arifa and Dipa had expelled their last breaths at around 11:30 am, while trying to cross the road.
The street turned into something short of a battle ground that day as agitated students and locals set the truck on fire. The police had to employ force to bring the situation under control. They charged batons on the unruly demonstrators and additional forces were deployed to keep the environment calm.
Dipa Khatun (L) and Arifa Khatun (R)
The recovered bodies were taken to the unexpecting family and handed over by the Ishwardi Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Md. Jakir Hossain. The UNO had complied with the family's wishes and had the bodies delivered without an autopsy performed on either body. The family's grief cannot be portrayed in words. The loss of their children was not just a loss of lives, but a loss of a dream.
Arifa and Dipa were two daughters amongst seven siblings in the family. Unfortunately, these two were the only ones inclined towards education and meritorious at the same time. A teary-eyed father Rashed, filled with grief, lamented that they were the ones who, one day, had the chance to rescue their family from poverty. “Being a day laborer, I earn less than enough to sustain my family. How can I bear this extra pain befallen on me and my family?”, said Rashed.
Mother Asia Khatun, not able to bear the news, fell mute and took to bed instantly on seeing the bodies. Stepmother Chompa Khatun could not stop crying, she loved the girls as her own and always took the girls to and from their tutors' residences. She kept blaming herself, for not being there for the girls that day to walk them back home.
Classmates and friends of both children were heart broken and had fallen with tears on receiving the news. They said Arifa was expecting a GPA 5 as results for her HSC exams. They all said the girls were always serious about their education.
The authorities of the Solimpur Degree College and Maniknagar Girls School, the institution the girls attended classes in, closed down for the day in grievance. Neighbours and relatives were so shocked that they were speechless. The impact of the matter was so great that they had no words to try and condone the family in anyway.
(R) thedailystar.net 2011