The road outside the DDA market of Paschim Vihar’s GH-9 Block in west Delhi had plenty of people on Sunday night — some having ice-cream with kids, others wrapping up their chores.
Around 10.30pm, a loud screech and thud rose above the marketplace drone and chatter. A Mercedes car knocked down 17-year-old Atul Arora, a local boy riding his mother’s scooter.
The crowd responded immediately, a welcome sign in a city notorious for bystanders turning their backs on victims of road accidents. The local residents welfare association’s general secretary, NK Saini, and his children were having ice-cream from a roadside vend when the accident happened a few feet away.
His children dashed to check the crushed teenager, while Saini called police immediately. Atul was gravely injured, bleeding from his head and limbs. There was no time to waste.
“My son’s friend was driving past in a Maruti Swift. I stopped him and with the help of other bystanders put the injured boy in the car,” Saini said.
Soon a crowd gathered around the boy. The Mercedes has fled by then. The group of eyewitnesses claimed to have tried cardiopulmonary resuscitation as Atul lay motionless. That didn’t help. Instead of wasting time, they rushed him to a nearby hospital. But he couldn’t be saved.
Jagdish, a driver with power company BSES, was at his office in the market. He too rushed to help. He and the crowd collected hard evidence such as broken parts of the Mercedes, including its logo. “We handed them over to police when they arrived,” he said.
Meanwhile, Saini and another group checked the mangled remains of the scooter in their attempt to find any documents that could help identify the teenager. “The boy’s mobile phone was damaged. Then we found the two-wheeler’s registration certificate (RC),” Saini said.
The address matches the locality where Saini lives. He rushed to inform the family. “When I enquired, Atul’s uncle emerged from the neighbouring flat. When he saw the address, he immediately confirmed that the scooty belongs to his family.” Quick help from the crowd could have saved the teen, if his injuries had been less critical.
The responsive people did all that was required to save him. Their response is a praiseworthy gesture in a city where bystanders seldom come to the rescue of road accident victims, mostly because of appearing before police and courts as witnesses during litigation.
In west Delhi’s Hari Nagar last year, motorists drove past a man dying on the road after being hit by a speeding tempo. Earlier, on Friday, a 75-year-old man was beaten to death by his son even as neighbours decided to watch the ghastly incident from the safety of their homes.
In mid-February, neighbours ignored the cries for help of a woman who was later found beheaded at her east Delhi home.