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Q1. Recently a man hit by a tempo on a Delhi road bled to death. Hundreds of people drove past the dying man, but not one person came forward to help. The only one who walked up to the injured man ended up helping himself: He walked away with the dying man’s mobile phone. In recent times many such incidents have occurred in various parts of the country. How do you interpret such incidents?  (200 words)

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  • Osho Korde

    In countries like France, Germany, Belgium, failing to provide help and passive attitude is a criminal offence. A bystander overlooking an accident victim is liable for imprisonment up to five years and a hefty fine. However, in India, it continues to remain a directive.
    Even though the Supreme Court, issued directions to make sure that no person helping an accident victim is detained at the police station, forced to disclose their identity or is questioned and in fact is given a certificate by the state authorities as an “incentive”, people still avoid helping as they do not want to be a party in the case.
    The directives have only listed out guidelines for the enforcement agencies (police in this case), for the protection of good Samaritans but does nothing to deter the ‘bystander effect’ (a social psychological phenomenon in which individuals do not offer any means of help to a victim) or punish them.
    The police, however, maintained that they do record the witness’ statement, check his background, see if he had been penalized for speeding in the past, and even summon them for inquiries, as it is part of the procedure.
    An investigator said that people use this reason of being harassed later, as a convenient excuse, a scapegoat, to not help. This is a convenient defense mechanism. People in general have become heartless.
    According to the Global Road Safety Report, 2015, released by the World Health Organisation, 2 lakh people died in road accidents in India in 2014. According to NCRB’s data, on an average, 16 people lost their lives every hour in 2014.