Two persons died and a third was injured in three road accidents in the city, triggering violent protests from agitated residents on Wednesday.
A mob set fire to a bus and fought with the police on Mahendra Bhattacharya Road, at Chatterjeehat, in Howrah, after a bus ran over a youth. The victim was later identified as Santu Chatterjee.
Additional superintendent of police Rajiv Mishra said Chatterjee, 22, was on a bicycle when the bus hit him from behind. “The driver applied the brakes but could not prevent the accident. Chatterjee was crushed under the left wheel of the bus,” said Mishra. The incident took place during morning rush-hour. Bystanders rushed to extricate the youth from under the wheels. He was taken to Howrah General Hospital, where he was declared dead.
The driver and the two conductors escaped from the spot. Angered by this, the mob surrounded the bus and directed passengers to get off. It then stoned the vehicle and set it on fire. Two fire-tenders reached the spot and doused the flames, but the bus was completely damaged by then (picture on left).
When a force from Chatterjeehat police station arrived, the mob greeted them with a shower of stones and bricks. Reinforcements were called in to tackle the violence. Normalcy was restored after an hour. Additional superintendent Mishra said 12 people have been arrested for rioting. “We are trying to locate the bus driver. The vehicle has been towed to the local police station,’’ he said.
Residents, however, blamed the cops for the accident, alleging that there was not enough surveillance in the congested streets of Howrah. “The drivers are reckless. There are no cops to check them. Such accidents can easily be avoided if the traffic is controlled properly,’’ claimed Subir Das, a resident.
In the second accident on Wednesday, Sheikh Yunus, 70, out for a morning walk, was knocked down by a truck at the Circular Garden Reach Road-Hyde Road crossing, in the Kidderpore area. The driver fled with the vehicle while Yunus lay bleeding on the ground. Bystanders took him to SSKM Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. Police are trying to locate the driver.
A third accident took place at the Keshub Sen Street-College Street crossing, in north Calcutta, in the morning. Lakshmi Rabidas, 52, was knocked down by a private bus on route 219. Police said Rabidas was crossing the road when the bus ran him over. Bystanders took him to Nilratan Sirkar Hospital, where he was given first-aid. Doctors said his condition is stable.