| One of the ransacked buses. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
Calcutta, July 30: A bus which pulled past another in a mad rush for passengers claimed the hand of a 27-year-old man this morning, igniting a crowd backlash.
'Around 9.30 am, a private bus of route 221 was standing at the intersection of AJC Bose Road and Ekka Road (near the Beckbagan cemetery), picking up passengers. Suddenly, another bus of route 223 came speeding from the back and swerved ahead in front of this one. While doing so, it hit a man who was walking down the road,' said Debu Bose, the officer-in-charge of East Traffic Guard.
The man, whose left hand was damaged 'beyond repair', was identified as Paritosh Chakrabarty from Burtolla in Halishar, North 24-Parganas.
Witnesses said the rear wheels of the speeding bus ran over his hand. The driver of the other bus, rattled by the way the second one came rushing from behind to lay claim on waiting passengers, jumped out of his seat.
While the driver fled, a scuffle broke out between passengers of the two buses. With passerby joining in, the road turned into a battlefield.
The windscreen of one of the buses was smashed and protesters set up a roadblock, throwing traffic on AJC Bose Road ' one of the main arterial routes in the city ' out of gear during peak office hours.
With personnel from Shakespeare Sarani police station and the East Traffic Guard struggling to control the mob, the police control in Lalbazar asked the Beniapukur force to lend a hand. It was only when the Beniapukur team arrived that the agitators stepped aside and allowed the traffic to start moving, but in a single file.
As the crowd clashed, some youths picked up Chakrabarty, who was writhing in pain, and took him to National Medical College. Doctors at the hospital's emergency unit attended to his bleeding hand and realised it could not be healed. He was referred to SSKM Hospital for specialised treatment.
'It was not a case of plain injury. The connective tissue, the nerves and the veins of the hand were badly ruptured and plastic surgery experts were required along with those from medicine and surgery,' said a house staff on duty at the National Medical College.
At SSKM, doctors declared Chakrabarty's hand had been 'damaged beyond repair'. Sources said doctors have advised amputation of the damaged portion of his hand, but his family is not convinced.
With both the drivers missing and their attendants gone as well, the buses were towed to Shakespeare Sarani police station.