JAKARTA — Twelve people have died during a massive three-day traffic jam in Indonesia that stretched more than 20 kilometres and brought thousands of holidaymakers to a complete standstill, an official says.
Roads across the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country are choked every year at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, as millions head to villages to celebrate Eid, which fell on Wednesday.
The horror traffic at a major highway junction at Brebes, a city on the main island of Java, was so bad that Indonesians dubbed the disastrous toll gate “Brexit”, from the words “Brebes exit”.
But the chaos at the “Brexit” junction this year was particularly acute in the three days before Eid, as tens of thousands of cars crammed the arterial highway, transport ministry spokesman Hemi Pramuraharjo said.
“In terms of this Brexit case, there’s been a total of 12 victims over different days,” he said.
Mr Pramuraharjo said several of the victims were elderly while others died from fatigue and other health complications.
Local media reported that a one-year-old suffering from fume poisoning was also among the deceased.
More than 400 motorists had died on Indonesia’s roads so far this holiday season, including those in the “Brexit” jam, Mr Pramuraharjo said.
Accidents are not uncommon during the holiday odysseys, particularly on the potholed roads of overcrowded Java, home to more than half of Indonesia’s 255 million people.
Aerial shots captured a sea of motionless vehicles, with some drivers seeking respite on the roadside.
Mr Pramuraharjo said roadside vendors and crowded markets near the junction compounded the chaos, leading to traffic snarls “more than 20 kilometres” in length.
“There is a bottleneck there, where there’s a petrol station very nearby and many people queue,” he said.
“There’s no space on the road. We don’t have a solution.”
Responding to the controversy, the health ministry urged motorists planning a long journey to rest and take all necessary precautions.
The ministry’s Achmad Yurianto said in a statement the heavy use of air conditioning could also lead to an increase in carbon dioxide within the cramped confines of the car.
Nirmala Panta rape, murder case : Locals protest after wrong suspect paraded
BHIMDUTTANAGAR — Locals who were protesting against the rape and murder of Nirmala Panta of Kanchanpur’s Bhimdatta Municipality, have enforced shutdown in Bhimduttanagar Bazaar on Tuesday, protesting police’s failure to reveal facts behind the murder of 13-year-old girl and parading wrong suspect on Monday.
The District Police Office, organising a press conference on Monday,had made public Dilip Singh Bista (41), of Baghphanta, Bhimdatta Municipality-19 as Nirmala’s murderer.
Locals have shut down the market area stating that police were not being able to make public the true murderer(s) as they are not convinced by the findings of police citing that Bista was mentally unsound, according to the District Police Office.
Transportation has also been halted.
Bista, a resident of Khanna Chauraha area in Bhimdutta Municipality-19, was apprehended near the scene of crime on Sunday, according to police.
Police making public the wrong suspect has infuriated the locals and fueled the protest.
The agitators including various civil society organisations and human rights defenders have been picketing the District Administration Office and staging rally on the street mounting pressure on the police to reveal the facts behind the heinous crime.
Meanwhile, it had been learnt that police have fired rounds of teargas shells to contain the agitated mob.
Nirmala was found murdered in a sugarcane field on July 27, a day after she had gone to her friend’s home to get a notebook.Follow @gorkhapost