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Mishap sparks highway attack

- Three kids injured after tyre burst

A Calcutta-based businessman and his wife were beaten up by a mob and their car was set on fire after it hit three students following a flat tyre at Uluberia, on National Highway 6, on Monday morning.

Elliot Road resident Pradip Dey, who lets out water scooters at Digha for adventure sports, was driving to the seaside town with his wife on a business trip when the incident occurred around 10am at Uluberia’s Pirtala, around 50km from the city.

The couple spend four to five days every week in Digha to manage their business.

“Dey, 46, was on the driver’s seat and wife Manju, 41, was sitting beside him in their Santro. The businessman lost control of the vehicle after one of the front tyres burst,” said police.

Following the flat, the car rammed into the divider on the highway and jumped to the other lane before hitting Rinki Khatun, 15, Rajmina Khatun, 12, and Anisha Khatun, 10. The children were on their way to Kulgachia station nearby.

All three were admitted to Uluberia Sub-divisional Hospital, from where Anisha was shifted to a Calcutta hospital after her condition worsened.

As the news of the accident spread, a mob gathered at the spot.

“They pulled my husband out of the car and started beating him up mercilessly. When I tried to explain to them that he did not hit the children on purpose, they assaulted me, too. A part of the mob brought petrol from a stationed tanker, poured it on our car and set it on fire,” said Manju, who was admitted to the sub-divisional hospital with multiple injuries in the hands and shoulders.

Dey has been arrested for rash driving and causing injury to the students but none of those who attacked the couple could be rounded up.

The businessman suffered cuts and bruises as the mob rained blows and kicks on him, his wife said.

Sukhendu Hira, the additional superintendent of police, Howrah (rural), said no one was arrested for assaulting the couple as they did not lodge any complaint.

“So far Dey has not filed any complaint against those who assaulted him and so no one who had beaten up the couple and set the car on fire has been arrested. An investigation is on and if anybody is found guilty, he will be arrested,” said Hira.