As if the terror of meeting with an accident wasn’t enough, 16-year-old Nouman Sabuwala was forced to deal with the apathy of motorists and even cops in a police van, all of whom saw his dying father and injured mother and sisters trapped in the taxi, but did not even bother to stop and help.
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Speaking to mid-day yesterday, Nouman recalled how an evening that was meant to celebrate his SSC results turned into the worst day of his life when an Audi being driven by advocate Janhavi Gadkar (35) rammed into the taxi he and his family were travelling in on the Eastern Freeway, in the wee hours of Tuesday.
A grieving Nouman said his father was the happiest about his result. He said happiness was snatched away from him and his family in a matter of seconds. Pics/Bipin Kokate
The accident led to the death of his father and the taxi driver and left the rest of his family hospitalised. Nouman said that while the overturned taxi was lying on the road, with everyone else still inside, a police van passed by, but did not stop.
He said he begged several other motorists, going to the extent of running after a car and opening its door, to help save the lives of his family members, but to no avail. To top all of this off, said the teenager, when he called the police helpline, they asked him to lower his voice instead of trying to understand what had happened.
The same thing reportedly happened at Sion Hospital, where a nurse allegedly asked him to calm down or they wouldn’t admit his father. “How was I supposed to calm down?” an exasperated Nouman asked.
“We my father Salim (50), mother Hafiza (45) and sisters Salma (24) and Sadiya (22) and I had all been waiting for the day of the SSC results. At 1 pm on Monday, I checked my result online and found I had passed and had scored 66%. I immediately called my dad, who was in office. He was very happy and said it was time to celebrate.
He said we would go for dinner to a dhaba that evening and I called a taxi driver that we knew and asked him to ferry us.” The family, which lives in Null Bazaar, near Mohammed Ali Road, had dinner at Karishma Dhaba in Bhiwandi.
“While coming back, we were all very happy and were enjoying ourselves. Dad, mom, Salma and Sadiya were all joking around. Dad was sitting in the front seat while the rest of us were in the back seats.”
“Suddenly the driver let out a scream. I was doing something on my cellphone and as soon as I looked up I saw our taxi crashing into something. Bang! For a minute, I did not even realise what had happened. Our taxi had turned turtle.
I somehow managed to break the window next to my seat and come out. I was shocked. I found myself screaming loudly,” said Nouman. “My dad had been crushed. His left leg had almost been detached. Still, he was trying to speak and he asked me to take my mother and sisters out of the wreckage first.
Locals had arrived at the spot by then and they made the car stand on its wheels once again. With their help, we managed to extract all of my family members from the mangled car. The taxi driver, however, was still trapped,” he added.
No one stopped
“What happened next was something that I had never imagined would happen in Mumbai. Several cars passed by and the drivers even slowed down to see what had happened, but did not stop even when I begged them to help my family.
I even chased an Innova that had slowed and opened its door in desperation, but the passenger yanked the door shut and the car zoomed away. Even a police patrol vehicle passed by without stopping,” said the 16-year-old. “I called 100 and the cops asked me to lower my voice.
I was telling them my dad was dying and they asked me to lower my voice!” he added, shaking his head in disbelief. The police arrived 25 minutes after his call, according to Nouman. “By god’s grace, two taxis finally stopped and, with the help of locals, I rushed my family members to Sion Hospital. More time was wasted there. The hospital did not have a stretcher.
I was screaming and running around, asking for doctors to attend to my family. A nurse asked me to calm down and said they wouldn’t admit my dad otherwise. I was infuriated, but helpless. Later, my dad was declared dead."
Nouman said, “I want the harshest punishment for the accused. Being an advocate, how can she even do this. My family’s happiness was snatched away in seconds. My father is dead! He was the one who was happiest after my result.”
Asked what he plans to do, he said, “I don't know what I will do next. The only thing I want is for the woman to be given maximum punishment. Forget about my future.” “I was shocked by the behaviour of motorists. People were dying on the road and no one came forward to help. There is no humanity left in Mumbai.”