I refuse to accept that my daughter’s death was an accident: Subasri’s father

It is a quiet house at the end of a street tucked away from chaos of Chromepet. Subasri and her parents have lived there for over two decades.

After her death four days ago, the parents shuffle about the house in grief and rage, not to mention shock, even as her helmet is placed prominently in the living room. They remember how she was a stickler for traffic rules. “She never rode without a helmet and would often tell me how important it was to own a helmet which was of good quality. When we were given her helmet on Thursday, there was not a single scratch on it,” said R. Geetha, her mother.

Subasri was run over by a water tanker at Pallikaranai after an illegal flex board fell on her when she was riding her two-wheeler. “I refuse to accept that her death was an accident,” said R. Ravi, when asked about his daughter. “She did not go and crash into a vehicle or a flex board. Something that was illegally put up fell on her. How can this be termed an accident?” he asked.

Recalling a similar incident where Raghupathy, who had returned from the U.S., had died in Coimbatore after hitting a pole protruding from a flex banner, Mr. Ravi said that a permanent solution had to be put in place.

Caught on camera: A video grab showing the speeding water tanker that ran over Subasri after the banner fell on her

I lost my daughter to the banner culture: father


“To earn some credit with their political leaders, people mindlessly erect these flex boards. Motorists tend to lose concentration even if dust gets into their eyes and yet we have such banners posing a huge risk to people on the roads,” he says, angrily.

Sifting through her photos, her mother recalls how bright and intelligent Subasri was. “She had pursued a bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics but was always interested in entrepreneurship. She had started a small business of her own and sold handmade soaps, lip balms and other cosmetics. To further her entrepreneurial ambitions, she was keen on acquiring a degree in business management from Canada.”

Subasri was returning home on her two-wheeler via the Pallavaram-Thoraipakkam Radial Road in Pallikaranai.

Flex board accident: Madras HC comes down heavily on politicians, bureaucrats


Mr. Ravi and Ms. Geetha say they have been aware of social activist ‘Traffic’ Ramaswamy’s crusade against illegal banners for quite a while. “Despite his efforts and even after the court having ordered against the menace, the banner culture has continued. The court has been right in asking how much more blood should be shed before action is taken,” he says.

Over the last few days, they’ve seen a number of visitors and representatives from a few political parties as well. Ms. Geetha, however, firmly says that she does not want all the furore to die down. “What is the point in taking steps now to address the menace of illegal banners if six months down the line, they are going to put it up again for some other big event? We don’t want anyone to forget this in five days. People need to follow rules and action must be taken against those who break them.”

Illegal hoardings being removed at Chinthamani junction, Mettupalayam Road, in Coimbatore. File photo

Despite ban, hoardings pose a clear and present danger

Subasri’s father claims they are yet to get an FIR copy from the police and have not heard from them about what action was taken against the person responsible for erecting the illegal banners. “There’s only one thought running in my mind. I don’t want any other parent to feel the pain and anguish that we have gone through in the last few days after the death of our only child,” Mr. Ravi says.

Ms. Geetha says she will for sure tear down any illegal banner or flex board she spots. “Her friends too told me that they will do this and create more awareness about the dangers they pose. We all want Subasri’s death to be the last from this sort of mindless culture,” she adds, with conviction.

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