A 14-year-old boy returning home from school was crushed under the wheels of a bus he had allegedly been thrown off by the conductor for seeking a free ride in Howrah on Wednesday afternoon.
A profusely bleeding Zeeshan Khan, a resident of Alam Mistri Lane and Class X student of St. John’s School, was taken to a local nursing home, from where he was referred to SSKM Hospital. The boy was declared dead at the city hospital.
The accident triggered mob fury and the route 24/A/1 bus, from Howrah fire station to Mukundapur, was set ablaze.
Zeeshan and two of his friends were walking home down GT Road from their school on Foreshore Road.
On reaching Howrah fire station, they saw a Mukundapur-bound bus on 24/A/1 route leaving the terminus.
“They jumped on to the bus through the front gate and requested the conductor to allow them a free ride till the next stop, Pilkhana More, around 200m away,” said a witness.
“The conductor refused and asked the boys to get off. Two children got off the bus but Zeeshan didn’t. The conductor then gave him a push. Zeeshan fell on the road and before anyone could react, he was crushed under the rear wheels of the bus,” the witness said.
Realising that the boy had been run over, the driver and the conductors panicked and jumped off the running bus, causing it to ram into a paan shop before coming to a halt.
“Fortunately there were not many customers around. As I saw the bus move straight towards my shop, I jumped out of its way,” said Rajesh Shaw, the owner of the shop. A customer suffered minor injuries.
As news of the death spread, residents of the area blocked GT Road around 12.30pm and started throwing stones on the bus that was still lying abandoned. The mob later torched the bus.
A large posse of policemen rushed to spot. The blockade was lifted around 1pm after senior officers intervened.
“The driver and the conductors are absconding. We will arrest them soon,” said Nishat Pervez, deputy commissioner of police (headquarters), Howrah.