The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Four mishaps, three deaths
- Speeding buses crush pedestrians; two drivers flee, one arrested, another beaten up

Five days, seven deaths — the September death count on the streets of Calcutta.

There was no respite from road mishaps on Wednesday, with three lives being lost in four accidents — all involving speeding buses.

Sheikh Asgar Ali, 45, was run over by a private bus on route 45B near Moulali around 10.30am. The bus was overtaking another when it lost control, said an officer of Muchipara police station.

Asgar Ali died in front of his 11-year-old son, Sheikh Arshad, while both were standing in front of Moulali Yuba Kendra, waiting for a Tollygunge-bound bus to take them home.

“I saw my father being hit. I can’t remember what happened after that. I then saw him lying still in a taxi when we were going to the hospital. He did not utter a single word,” said Arshad.

A Class V student of Ballygunge Government School, Arshad was a few feet behind his father when the speeding bus hit him. Asgar Ali was taken to NRS Hospital, where he was declared dead.

The resident of Rahimuddin Lane, near Charu Market, had taken his son to see a dentist in Moulali.

Police arrested the driver — who had been caught by bystanders — and impounded the vehicle.

An hour after Arshad saw his father being killed by a speeding bus, Manik Sarkar, in Selimpur, came to know that his mother had been run over by a speeding minibus.

Maya Rani Sarkar, 52, was returning home after collecting her husband’s pension from a bank in Bagha Jatin when a minibus on the Jadavpur-Airport route, racing a CTC bus, hit her near the Jodhpur Park-Selimpur crossing.

“It is such a busy and dangerous crossing, but most of the time, there is no policeman here. Maya Rani Sarkar died because of negligence,” alleged a resident of the area, who witnessed the accident around 11.15am.

The vehicle has been impounded but the driver managed to flee, police said.

Before the blood on the streets off Selimpur had dried, tragedy struck half-a-kilometre away, when a middle-aged man was run over by a speeding CTC bus at the approach to Sukanta Setu.

The bus on the Howrah- Garia route came hurtling down the bridge and slammed into the pedestrian, who was trying to cross the road.

The victim had not been identified till late on Wednesday. The bus was impounded but the driver managed to flee.

“This crossroad at the base of Sukanta Setu is a death trap. There is heavy traffic flow, with autos and buses being the prime culprits in causing snarls and endangering lives,” said Kalyan Sengupta, a resident of Jadavpur.

After a lull for a few hours, road mishap-and-rage revisited south Calcutta when the Gariahat intersection erupted over an accident involving a CTC bus and a tea-stall owner.

Ratan Panda, 28, suffered serious injuries when a bus on the Tollygunge-Barasat route knocked him down while speeding towards Bijon Setu from Rashbehari Avenue.

The accident took place around 5.45pm, when Panda was crossing the road.

“The bus driver seemed to see him and yet the bus rolled close enough to him to nudge him and knock him down. An accident is waiting to happen here, what with the pre-Puja shopping rush and the reckless bus drivers,” said Satyabrata Ghosh, a witness.

Immediately after the accident, a mob stopped the vehicle, dragged down driver Samar Bose and thrashed him.

Cops from Gariahat police station intervened, but the protesters smashed the window panes of the CTC bus and even set a part of it ablaze. A fire tender was called in to douse the flames.

Panda was taken to local hospital and admitted with serious head injuries.

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