It was around 2:10pm on Wednesday. Tofayel was going to visit one of his friends in a CNG-run auto-rickshaw. When he was near the campus of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (Sust), he saw a woman by the roadside, some 20-25 feet away, giving birth to a baby. She did it all standing.
Tofayel Ahmed, a travel agency official, was confounded by what he saw, but he stopped the auto-rickshaw and returned to the spot. He did not know what to do. In the meantime, the woman started walking, leaving her newborn son behind.“She didn't have any clothes on, and was bleeding,” Tofayelsaid.
“At that moment a thought struck me. I called 999, the national emergency number,” he said. The response was quick. “Within three or four minutes, police called me and asked me to follow the woman.”
Meanwhile, Al Mubin, a third-year student of Murari Chand College, was passing by the spot in a motorbike. A roadside crowd stopped him. The crowd was surrounding a newborn boy.
“They were chattering about what to do,” said Mubin. “The baby was crying, face down, all smeared with dust,” he said.
“I looked around to find his mother, but there was none. Then with the help of Faisal [a local youth],I took him to hospital [MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital]”.
When he arrived at the outdoor with the baby in arms, he was bombarded with questions like “Who is he?” “Where are the parents?” “Why did he take him there?”
It was quite a grilling, said Mubin. “We spent almost half an hour, trying to convince them it's an abandoned child and his mother is mentally-imbalanced.”
They finally agreed and admitted the boy to the paediatric ward.
When Mubin was in the midst of his thought about what to do next, Tofayel arrived with the mother. Within less than half an hour after Tofayel called 999, a police team led by Sub-inspector SujanTalukderarrived at the scene and took the woman to hospital. She was admitted to the gynaecology ward.
Mubin was not sitting idle in the meantime. Both baby and mother needed blood; so he called his friend Imran at MC College, who runs a Facebook-based blood donors' group. “My friendrushed to the hospital with a donor with A (+)blood group,” he said.
Dr Debapada Roy, deputy director of the hospital,who is looking after the matter, was amazed by the generosity of the youths. “It's heart-warming,” he said.
“We often think that the young generation is not aware of the reality.But these people aredifferent, especially Mubin. Hefelt for the baby, brought him to hospital, faced questions of the staff while admitting him, and finally he managed blood and took all responsibility of them.He and thesemen deserve the heartiest thanks.”
He added that both mother and baby were doing fine in the hospital; there was no health complexity.
Meanwhile, Shafiqur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Jalalabad Police Station, also praised the efforts of the youths.“The call was praiseworthy,” he said. “They felt for a mentally-imbalanced woman and his child.”
He said the homeless woman, aged around 30,has been living in the area for a long time. Locals know her as “mentally-imbalanced”. “Nobody knew how she got pregnant,”the OC said. “We are looking for the father.”
Talking to The Daily Star, Tofayel said the father has to be identified and punished. “If necessary, a DNA test should be run for identification.”
Tofayel also appreciated police's response and the operators of 999. “The operators called me at least three times to follow up about what happened to the mother and the boy. This is very appreciable.”