A recent hit-and-run CCTV footage in Delhi is giving rise to much soul searching across the country. It has also prompted the Delhi government to moot a reward for good samaritans. Under this scheme, anyone taking a stricken person to hospital will be rewarded. This speaks volumes of the level of public apathy in the country’s capital. Helping others in dire need has become so rare that authorities are thinking of giving incentives to those who do come forward. In Delhi’s Subhash gar area on Wednesday, a security guard was walking back home in the wee hours when he was hit by a van. For one-and-half hour, he lay bleeding on the road. Several persons passed by, some stood and stared. Not one person did anything to take the man to a hospital, or even to give him some succor. In between, a rickshaw puller even walked up to him stealthily to steal his mobile phone! After four hours of the mishap, the police were informed. By the time they arrived on the scene, it was too late. The man had bled to death; his entire ordeal captured in a CCTV camera stationed close by. Questions are being asked about this shameful incident. Will people come forward to lend a helping hand if there is some cash incentive? What causes such insensitivity, such public apathy? Only last June, a young woman was hacked to death in a bustling Cheni train station in the morning hours while most commuters rushed about to catch their trains and others calmly watched from their compartments. An anguished Madras High Court had to ask the police why the woman’s body lay on the platform ‘like an exhibition for two hours’. Many argue that helping out victims of hit-and-run cases or crimil attacks — involves endless police hassles and court appearances. In case they become key witnesses, they may be threatened by the perpetrators. So most people would rather look the other way and hurry off from the scene; those who hang around do nothing but derive morbid pleasure. There is a Supreme Court directive that people who help accident victims must not be harassed or unduly questioned. Sadly, most people remain ignorant, while law enforcers continue with their callous ways. But for every right thinking citizen, the puzzle is to figure why a social animal like man behaves so unsocially in society.
food for thought