Two days back 18-year old Anwar Ali bled to death on the road after the cyclist was run over by a state bus. All of this while there were several bystanders who chose to remain just that and prioritized clicking pictures and recording videos over getting the boy to a hospital, The 15-20 minutes that were wasted by the bystanders doing everything aside of what they should have cost the boy his life. And this is not a stray incident, only a part of the recently catching up trend to not rescue fellow beings in trouble. All over the world, Indians are known for their warmth and will to help, what happens to us innately loving folks then upon seeing dying, bleeding people on the streets?
Not very long back, a man in Delhi profusely bled to death after he was hit by a tempo. The CCTV footage several ‘humans’ passing by him but of course it struck none to call an ambulance. One man went close enough and walked off with the dying man’s phone instead. The Good Samaritan law has been enacted in India since March 2016 and those helping accident victims can also choose to remain anonymous. Clearly that’s not been enough to get us out of our ‘doosre ke pachhde mei mat pado’ attitude.
Such shocking insensitivity brings us to the question that has it now become essential to now enact a ‘duty to rescue’ law in India. Maybe, that’s what would work on us Indians who do something only when we fear punishment for not doing it, and also because who cares about being a ‘Good Samaritan’ , right? If we do choose to do that, here are a few countries we can take inspiration from:
Argentinian law says that anybody who endangers another’s life by abandoning them to their fate when they are not in a position to take care of themselves, will be imprisoned for two upto six years.
Canada’s criminal law-abiding states have a duty to assist those in danger either by doing the needful oneself or by calling for aid, unless there is danger to the assister’s life.
Princess Diana died in a fatal car collision and the photographers on site were hauled up for their insensitivity. Ever since, France has had strict laws against those who fail to render assistance to those in danger.
Russia and Serbia too have strict rescue laws and make it compulsory for fellow citizens to provide assistance to those in danger unless they are for some explicable reason unable to do so.
In Serbia a bystander could spend eight years in jail if they fail to assist an accident victim who dies bleeding while they stand around. Germany takes it a step ahead and makes it compulsory for one to have basic knowledge of CPR and first aid in order to be able to get a driving license.
While it is sad that we must need a law to drive our apathy away, maybe a similar law would jolt us out of being just bystanders in the presence of dying victims. Sensitivity and the urge to help are basic human characteristics and it’s apalling how we Indians are proving time and again that we lack it.
When we walk by such victims, one cannot help but think it could have been us or a loved one instead of the victim. Would you then still be fine with the apathy and would you still justify it on the basis of how the person feared for their own safety and chose to let the victim die? As the highest in terms of evolution, it’s surprising we haven’t evolved enough to assist those in danger. If such a law helps us to be better human beings, then it’s high time we enact it.