EMINENT Bangladesh filmmaker Tareque Masud and chief executive of a private TV channel were killed with three others when a passenger bus hit their microbus in Ghior Upazila of Manikganj district Saturday.
Also wounded in the crash, Catherine Masud, wife of the award-winning filmmaker, painter Dhali Al Mamun, his wife Dilara Zaman Jolly and Saidul Islam, a production staff, are now undergoing treatment at Square Hospital in Dhaka. It has been learnt that they are now out of danger.
Other deceased were identified as Wasim and Jamal, production crew, and Mostafizur Rahman, driver of the microbus.
Bodies of Tareque Masud and Ashfaque Munier, popularly known as Mishuk Munier, will be kept at the Central Shaheed Minar around 10:30am Sunday for people to pay their tribute, Nasiruddin Yusuf Bachchu, president of Sammilita Sangskritik Jote, told The Daily Star.
Police found the bus (Dhaka Metro Ba 14-4288) deserted 40-50 yards west off the accident spot.
Meantime, bodies of the five victims were taken to Dhaka Medical College morgue in the evening. After processing there, the bodies were kept at the Square Hospital.
President Zillur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, opposition leader Khaleda Zia and leaders of different socio-cultural organisations have expressed deep shock at the deaths. They prayed for the salvation of the departed souls and also conveyed their sympathy to the bereaved family members.
The team was returning to Manikganj to meet Manikganj deputy commissioner after visiting a shooting site for a new film titled ‘Kagojer Phool’ in Saljana village of Shibalaya upazila when the crash took place.
Talking to The Daily Star, Rois Uddin, officer-in-charge of Ghior Police Station, said the accident took place at 12:20pm when a Chuadanga-bound bus from Dhaka collided head-on with the microbus going to Manikganj Sadar at Joka area.
The bus of Chuadanga Deluxe that left Dhaka with about 50 passengers around 10:30am was running at a very high speed before taking the microbus coming from the opposite direction in the face, said passengers of the bus.
“The passengers told us that they could hardly see anything as the bus was speeding while it was raining cats and dogs,” Noor-e-Alam, assistant superintendent of police (Shibalaya Circle) told The Daily Star.
Even while approaching a left-turn at Joka area, the driver did not slow it down sending panic to the passengers.
“All of us tilted on our right as the bus swerved at high speed and, in a couple of seconds, we heard a big bang,” Noor-e-Alam quoted a passenger to be saying.
The bus advanced about 10 yards after the turn before ramming the microbus carrying the film crews.
The collision thrashed the right half of the microbus, killing five on the spot and badly injuring the rest four passengers.
Despite the torrential rain, Bomkesh Sarker, a 70-year-old local living in the closest vicinity, 15 yards off the spot, heard a huge bang.
“What I saw rushing after out was a gory scene: five people lying motionless tangled in the wreckage of microbus,” the man said, still trembling.
“The sight of the wounded trying to crawl out of the vehicle was even terrible.”
Narayan Sarker, 55, his neighbour appeared in the scene before other locals rushed there to start rescuing the victims.
A passer-by called Ghior Police Station to inform about the accident. Policemen from the station and additional forces from Borongail Police outpost rushed to the spot soon.
Catherine Masud and Dhali and his wife Jolly were rushed to Manikganj Sadar Hospital at 12:45pm.
After doctors referred Dhali to Orthopaedic Hospital in Dhaka, the four were boarded in two microbuses and were taken to Square Hospital in the capital.
At 2:00pm, the bodies of the dead victims were taken to Manikganj Sadar Hospital morgue.
The collision mangled Tareque’s face and left multiple serious injuries on Mishuk, 52.
Taking the hit directly, Mustafizur, the microbus driver got many of his ribs broken.
Later at 4:00pm, bodies of the five dead victims were boarded on an ambulance which reached the Dhaka Medical College morgue around 6:00pm.
At the same time, the mangled microbus was taken to Manikganj Police Lines.
CONDITION OF THE INJURED
Doctors informally said that the injured are now out of danger, informed Nasiruddin Yusuf Bachchu.
But the doctors will make their formal briefing after 24-hour observation, he added.
People from all walks of life, especially the media and cultural arena, thronged the hospital to inquire about the condition of the wounded.
BUS STAFF FLEE
After the accident, the bus driver sped up and stopped the vehicle at Pukuria, 40-50 yards off the spot.
“They left the bus with passengers and fled,” Noor-e-Alam said.
Seizing the bus later, police helped the stranded passengers to board Paturia-bound buses.
The bus, which lost its windshield broken, was taken to Borongail Police outpost.
Our Kushtia correspondent reported that the bus driver, Jamir Uddin, around 50, hails from Daulatdiar village of Chuadanga Sadar.
Owner of the bus, Mujibul Haque Khokon, said Jamir has been driving the bus for the past two years. Earlier, he drove for him for four years, he added.
The microbus took the bus in the face while trying to overtake a truck, he said quoting “some” sources.
Jamir has been driving buses for 30 years, he said, denying any contact with the driver since the incident.
“If I come in contact with him, I’ll ask him to surrender,” he said.
Jamir is the father of a married woman.
PROBE TEAM FORMED
The communications ministry has formed a three-member committee to probe the accident, UNB adds.
Headed by Engineer Arifur Rahaman of Roads and Highways Division (RHD) of Dhaka circle, the committee has been asked to submit its report in seven days starting from Saturday.
The two other members are: RHD Dhaka circle caretaker engineer Qumrul Haque and executive engineer of Manikganj RHD, Sabuj Uddin Khan.
UNB adds: President Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed their deep shock at the death of Tareque Masud and Mishuk Munier.
In a condolence message, the president prayed for the salvation of the departed souls and also conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved family members.
The premier, in a separate message, prayed for the eternal peace of the departed souls and conveyed sympathy to the victim’s families.
Tareque Masud is an award-winning independent film director. He is known for directing the films Muktir Gaan (1995) and Matir Moina (2002).
Along with his wife, Catherine Masud, who is his co-director and a film editor, Masud runs a film production house based in Dhaka named Audiovision.
His first full-length feature film, Matir Moina (English release title “The Clay Bird”) which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, derives inspiration from his own childhood experiences.
He won the International Critic’s Award at the Cannes film Festival in 2002 for this film, as well as the FIPRESCI Prize for Directors’ Fortnight for “its authentic, moving and delicate portrayal of a country struggling for its democratic rights.
His latest film, Ontorjatra, is a tale of two generations of Bangladeshi diaspora in London. The film describes the short visit home of a divorced mother and her son.