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Man slashed over seat row

Jamshedpur, June 2: A 29-year-old man was slashed in the neck and his pregnant wife slapped and humiliated by the staff of a private bus this morning in Jamshedpur at the end of the couple’s journey from Cuttack that began with a row over seats.

Mohammed Shahid, a resident of Telengi Bazar in Cuttack, Odisha, and his wife Zara Hayat (27) were released from MGM Medical College and Hospital after treatment this evening.

The couple had boarded the bus, run by Odisha-based Shantilata Travels and on its way from Bhubaneswar, at Badambadi terminus in Cuttack around 9.30 last night.

“I had booked the ticket for Jamshedpur in Cuttack on May 28, as I had to drop my wife at my in-laws’ house. The date of our journey was June 1. When I boarded the bus and we sat in the seats (No. 3 and 4) as marked in the ticket, we were asked by the conductor to sit at the back. He said our seats were already booked by someone else,” said Shahid.

An altercation ensued as Shahid showed the tickets and refused to budge from his seat. He even went to the ticket counter and brought a police constable, who gave a stern warning to the bus staff to stick to the rules. The staff then relented and allowed the couple to sit in the front seats.

However, the bus had covered around 50km from Cuttack after resuming its journey when its staff began using filthy language against the couple and warned them of dire consequences if they did not vacate the seats.

When the bus reached Sitaramdera terminus in Jamshedpur around 7.30 this morning, the staff started abusing the couple again just as they were getting down with their luggage. As Shahid shouted back, four men including the conductor, driver and cleaner accosted him and exchanged blows.

One of the men took out a razor and slashed Shahid in the neck. Zara, who is five months pregnant, rushed to rescue him but was pushed to the ground and slapped.

The bus left soon afterwards as a crowd started gathering at the spot.

Shahid was taken by his in-laws, who stay in Kadma, to Sitaramdera police station, where he lodged a complaint against the four men.

Inspector of Sitaramdera police station Indu Bhusan said no arrest had been made so far, as all the accused had left for Odisha in the bus.