Truck driver Jaga Bandhu Behera at MGM Medical College and Hospital in Sakchi on Friday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Three youths swooped down on a truck on Marine Drive in Bistupur police station area in the small hours on Friday, beat up the driver with wooden clubs and snatched Rs 10,000 and a cellphone from him.
Driver Jaga Bandhu Behera, who sustained serious head injuries, was later rescued by a police patrol party that rushed him to MGM Medical College and Hospital.
Admitted to the hospital, he is also being treated for internal injuries in his shoulder and lower abdomen.
The victim recalled the horror from the hospital bed.
“I was bringing a consignment of newsprint rolls from Odisha to deliver a unit in Mango. Around 2am, as I was negotiating potholes and craters on the rough stretch along Subarnarekha, I and my helper saw three youths standing on the middle of the road. As we came closer, the trio waved at us to stop,” Behera said, adding he was left with no other option than to slam the brakes.
According to Behera, the youths were armed with clubs. “As soon as the truck stopped, one got in and forced me out of the vehicle. Another one asked me to hand over whatever cash I had. As I started fumbling, the third hit my head hard with his club,” he said added.
The trio then searched his pockets and took out petty cash. They raided the truck’s cabin where they got Rs 10,000 and the mobile phone.
When asked what happened to his helper, the truck driver said the boy managed to escape. “My attackers were too drunk to notice him,” he said.
After leaving Behera bleeding profusely, the trio left. With no help in sight, Behera decided to wait inside the truck as he was too weak to drive to safety.
Around 3.15am, a patrol team from Bistupur police station arrived and took him to hospital. Bistupur OC A.K. Yadav said: “We have come to know the whereabouts of the three youths. They hail from Beldih village and will be arrested soon.”
Yadav also blamed Behera for taking Marine Drive, now under reconstruction. “He should have driven through the city after crossing Adityapur toll bridge,” the OC said.
Due to repair work, the 10km stretch is deserted and has become a haven for loot and snatching.