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Crowd fury after road death
- MOB SETS BUS ON FIRE, DAMAGES FIRE TENDER, INJURES DRIVER

Raiganj, Aug. 31: Angered over delayed arrival of police after an accident on the Balurghat-Raiganj state highway this morning, a mob torched a bus of the North Bengal State Transport Corporation and stoned a fire tender injuring its driver.

Nirmal Induar, 25, was knocked down by an NBSTC bus while he was trying to cross the road at Mission More, 6km from here, around 7am today.

A crowd gathered at the spot and alleged that despite informing Karnajora police station 2km away, the policemen reached the site after one and a half hours.

Owner of a tea stall at Mission More and a witness to the incident Rajani Kanta Das said he had opened his shop as usual at 6.30am and the accident victim had come to his shop.

“Nirmal is a regular customer here. After drinking tea, he was about to cross the road with his bicycle when the NBSTC bus on the Raiganj-Balurghat route came at a tremendous speed and hit him,” said Das.

He said the youth had fallen between the two front wheels of the vehicle and did not appear to be badly injured.

“However, when people started shouting and ran towards the bus, the driver suddenly accelerated and tried to flee the spot and the rear wheels of the vehicle crushed Nirmal. I and a few others stopped a private car and chased the bus for around 8km. Finally, the driver drove the bus into the Hemtabad police station and surrendered there,” Das added.

Shankar Singh another person present at the spot said the Karnajora police station was informed immediately after the incident.

“After about 30 minutes, two policemen on a motorcycle were spotted coming towards the accident site. But when they saw the large crowd that had gathered, they drove back. At this the people became incensed,” Singh said.

He said 30 minutes passed away without any sign of the policemen and the angry crowd stopped another NBSTC bus coming from Balurghat and asked the passengers to get off.

“They smashed the window panes of the vehicle and set it on fire. About 15 minutes later when a fire tender arrived at the spot the crowd pelted it with stones. One of the stones hit the driver, who fled with the firemen, leaving the engine of the fire tender running, ,” Singh said.

“I was on my way from Kaliaganj to Siliguri when the bus I was travelling in was suddenly stopped near Mission More. Angry youths climbed on board and asked us to get off. When I asked what was happening, they dragged me out of the vehicle. There was not a single policeman on sight,” he said.

Policemen patrol Mission More after the incident on Tuesday. Picture by Nantu Dey

Around 9.30am, the deputy superintendent of police, headquarters, Amlan Ghosh, arrived at the spot with a huge police force and took away the body.

Traffic movement on the road resumed around 10.30am.

Superintendent of Raiganj hospital Arabinda Tantri said the driver of the fire tender, Dinesh Das, had been brought to the facility in the morning.

“A stone thrown at the fire engine hit him on the head and ear and he was bleeding profusely when he was brought here. We have referred him to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri,” he said.

“The driver of the NBSTC bus has been arrested by the Hemtabad police. We are looking for those who burnt the other vehicle and attacked the firemen. We are also looking into whether or not there was any delay in the policemen reaching the spot,” said Ghosh.

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