Video footage of a man being ignored as he begged for help following a road accident that killed his wife and child has led to accusations of “shameful” public apathy in India.
Police said Kanhaiya Lal’s appeals were ignored for 40 minutes on Monday after a speeding truck rammed his motorcycle on Sunday, which was also carrying his wife Guddi, 26, their 10-month-old daughter and four-year-old son.
No one waited to help him as he screamed for help with his injured son, until his wife and daughter died of their injuries at the accident scene, CCTV footage aired nationwide on Indian television showed.
“My son and I were shouting for help but no one stopped or came to our rescue. Passersby and several cars did stop to catch a glance but no one seemed to be bothered,” Lal said.
“Some cars almost touched the bodies as they passed by but nobody offered any help.”
According to Lal, when an ambulance “which was not well equipped” finally arrived on the scene, the body of his wife was tossed into the back of the vehicle “like garbage”.
The footage showed motorists speeding past the stricken family until a city worker came forward to help.
“It’s the duty of all people to take such victims to hospital because lives could be saved,” Jaipur traffic police chief Lata Manoj said in a televised interview.
Prabhu Dayal, an uncle of the dead woman, blamed the deaths on public indifference.
“Her husband cried for help for 40 minutes but no-one stopped. It’s shameful that apathy took two lives,” he said.
India is becoming known for public apathy towards victims of crime or accident as a 23-year-old student was also ignored by bystanders after she had been unclothed and dumped on a New Delhi street, having been savagely molested in a bus by six men.
The girl died of her injuries nearly two weeks later.
“Following the gang-rape we did an online survey about why people don’t help victims of violence and accidents,” said Apurva Mahendra of the Delhi-based SaveLIFE Foundation, which encourages bystanders to offer assistance.
“We found legal issues such as being required to appear in court as witnesses are major deterrents for good Samaritans to come forward to help such victims,” said Mahendra, who heads the privately run agency’s emergency response programme.
A total of 131,834 people died in road accidents in India in 2011 – which works out at 15 people per hour, according to the government’s National Crime Records Bureau.
According to traffic experts, the lives of at least 50 percent of victims could have been saved if they received timely medical attention.
“We are advocating a good Samaritan law to oblige people to help victims,” Mahendra said.