The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Drivers on rampage

Siliguri, Aug. 1: Some auto-drivers here suddenly took to violence today.

They damaged two buses and beat up a driver and assistant of a bus at Venus More here and later blocked the crossing.

Situation was brought under control after a police team reached the spot and resorted to lathicharge to dispel the squatters, who started the demonstration from 1.20 pm. A driver, Tuntun Saha (20) has been arrested.

The incident occurred after the Citu-affiliated North Bengal Auto Rickshaw Drivers and Owners Union submitted a memorandum to the subdivisional officer and the mayor, demanding that at least eight passengers be allowed on an auto. “After submitting the memorandum, we gathered at Baghajatin Park and asked the owners and drivers to carry only six passengers till the mayor has the meeting with us four days later,” said Ajoy Chakraborty, joint convener of the organising committee of the union. “But a few drivers, who were not ready to comply, had perhaps gone on the rampage.” He, however, said the agitators were “only miscreants and not related to the Citu”.

The CPI’s trade union wing, Aituc, however, did not take the incident kindly. “Autowalas are taking the administration for granted. They dared to damage our buses and beat up our men for no reason,” said Subhas Biswas, the secretary of the Aituc-affiliated Darjeeling District Bus and Mini Bus Workers’ Union.

Inspector-in-charge of Siliguri police station Satyabrata Chakraborty, said: “We have arrested one auto-driver. Citu leaders said the agitators did not have any connection with the union.”

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