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Students cry for bus halt, attack passengers

Raiganj, Oct. 22: A group of students today threw stones at a Siliguri-bound bus near the Nagar bridge, 11km from here, injuring five passengers. The students were demanding halt for buses at the spot.

Biswanath Pal, a sales representative, was admitted to the Raiganj district hospital with injuries on the right eye. Four others were released after first aid.

Following the incident, the driver parked the bus in the middle of NH34, blocking the highway for two-and-a-half hours from 10am and demanded the arrest of the culprits.

Bijoy Chakrabarty, the driver, said earlier, too, the students had attacked the buses that pass through the area by voicing the same demand.

Today, Bijoy said, he was forced to stop the bus when about 50 students blocked the road. “I requested about 10 of them to board the bus, but they insisted that all of them should be taken. When we refused, two of them started throwing stones which smashed the left windscreen and hit Pal.”

The driver also alleged that the students dragged him and the conductor out of the vehicle and thrashed them.

Harul Khan, a Class IX student of Rahatpur High Madarsa in Domohana who took part in the agitation, said: “We have to depend on the long-distance buses on the highway as there is hardly any local transport from here to go to school, 26km away. We had requested the bus association for a halt but they refused to pay heed. None of us had thrown stones to hurt the passengers.”

Bus owners’ association president Ashoke Chanda alleged that police had been repeatedly ignoring the attacks by the students. “If this time too they remain silent, we will call a transport strike in protest,” he said.

No one has been arrested. “We will keep a vigil in the area during school hours,” district police chief Sankar Singha said.

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