| Sandip Nandy (with garlands) being congratulated before the mishap. Picture by Biswajit Kundu
Burdwan, July 30: The driver of a tanker today lost control over his vehicle on Grand Trunk Road near the station here this morning, knocking down a cyclist, injuring two motorists and tarnishing the victory celebrations around East Bengal goal-keeper and local boy Sandip Nandy.
A mob immediately set upon the tanker carrying engine oil, first trying to torch it and then beating the driver senseless till police arrived and saved him. As the scene turned ugly, Nandy, who was riding on a red, open jeep, was driven away along another route.
“The tanker’s brakes failed and the driver lost control. The area was crowded because of the celebrations around Nandy and the cyclist, Ujjal Kar, 26, was knocked down and killed. We were successful in controlling the situation. Two other motor-cyclists were injured and were taken to hospital,” district police superintendent B.. Ramesh said.
Police had to spread sand on the busy road to mop up the oil that had spilled out of the tanker making the road slippery.
Municipality vice-chairman Ainul Haque had organised the victory rally to honour Nandy, who had grown up in the Loco Colony is his ward. The star goalie, whose save lifted East Bengal into the ASEAN Cup final in Jakarta, was taken to the town’s famous Curzon Gate on reaching here from Calcutta this morning, where Haque felicitated him.
Nandy was then taken out in a motorcade — 10 motorcycles preceding his open jeep — as jubilant people lined the route to his house and showered him with garlands and flowers. The convoy had just crossed the station around 10 am when the accident took place.
“What happened was just an accident. The boy who was killed was not part of the rally, he was hit as he tried to overtake the leading motor-cyclists. The two riders were injured as they threw themselves off their bikes to avoid being hit by the tanker,” Haque said.
The celebrations were stopped after the accident and Nandy, who was safe and sound, was driven home. The goal-keeper returns to Calcutta tomorrow to join East Bengal’s Federation Cup campaign.
The anger after the mishap seemed to have been multiplied because it robbed many of a chance to congratulate their hero, as complained by several youths. Burdwan had been boiling with excitement since morning when Nandy’s visit and felicitation was announced over loudspeakers.
The incident caused a severe traffic snarl on the busy road. Normal traffic flow was restored an hour after the mishap.