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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Auto snuffs out family hope

Mohammad Sharfuddin Ansari was ecstatic on Saturday afternoon; he had just received arrears amounting to Rs 39,000. The 23-year-old employee of APJ Shipping Pvt Ltd decided to deposit the money in his bank account on Monday.

Sharfuddin left his 4 Gora Chand Lane residence at 1pm on Monday for the Park Circus branch of Punjab National Bank to deposit the money. “I will be back for lunch; please wait for me,” were his parting words to mother Shehzadi Khatoon and father Mohammad Ashraf Ali Ansari.

Sharfuddin — who was scheduled to fly to Singapore next week and then set sail — never returned home.

On his way back from the bank, a speeding autorickshaw hit him on the Park Street approach to Park Circus. He was taken to National Medical College and Hospital where he was declared dead.

“We kept waiting for him to have lunch together. He did not come back. The news of his death came to us,” said father Ashraf Ali, crying inconsolably since Monday.

More than 24 hours after the accident, the tears of Sharfuddin’s parents had not dried.

More than 24 hours after the accident, there was no trace of the killer auto or its driver.

The autorickshaw plying on the Chandni Chowk-Bridge No. 4 route that hit Sharfuddin bore the registration number WB-04A 9291, claimed neighbours of the youth.

“Realising that police would not act, we ran a thorough search of the auto stand and learnt that the driver who killed Sharfuddin did not even have a licence. A youth named Taj had taken the auto out as his brother had gone for lunch,” said a friend of Sharfuddin.

The police admitted late on Tuesday that neither the auto nor its driver had been found. “The hunt is on for the driver and the vehicle. We are also awaiting the post-mortem report to know the exact cause of death,” said an official of Beniapukur police station.

Sharfuddin’s grieving family doesn’t need a post-mortem to know the cause of death — the youth on whom the hopes of the home hinged was killed by a terror on three wheels.

“Not just speeding buses kill people; these autos are equally dangerous. The drivers on this route drive like crazy and the cops look the other way. A family lost its brightest spark on Monday, but the police could not be bothered,” cried a neighbour in Gora Chand Lane.

The second among four siblings, Sharfuddin had joined a marine college after graduating from Apeejay School. “He made his way up very fast and was drawing a handsome salary at such a young age. We were pinning all our hopes on him,” sobbed father Ashraf Ali.

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