Malda, Jan. 2: A group of youths on motorbikes attacked a bus of picnickers twice yesterday night, the first time throwing stones at the vehicle, then chasing and getting on the bus and attacking its passengers, all school and college students, with daggers.
The bus had 60 students who take tuitions from Tahidur Rehman, a teacher of a South Dinajpur private engineering college. The teacher was accompanying them.
The students hailed from Malda and when the attacks happened last evening, the bus was barely 5km from Malda town.
At least six of the students were injured as was Tahidur.
The teacher had booked a bus to take his tuition students on a picnic to the Kulik bird sanctuary, about 85km from Malda town.
Of the 60 students — from Class IX to undergraduates — on the bus, 15 were girls.
The attack, the reason for which is unclear, happened around 9pm when the bus was on its way back to Malda. The second time the bus was attacked was around 9.30pm.
Ashish Deb, the inspector-in-charge of Old Malda police station, said they had received the complaint filed by Tahidur. “We are trying to identify the attackers.”
Tahidur said: “On our way back, we got stuck in a traffic jam on NH34 near Narayanpur (about 5km from Malda). Suddenly, some youths started hurling stones at our bus. They also smashed some of the windowpanes using bamboo sticks.”
Tahidur said he and some of the students got off the bus at this point. “As soon as few of us got off, the youths pounced on us with sticks and iron rods. They hit Arif Rehman, a Class XII student, on the head when he tried to resist them,” said the teacher from the hospital bed in the Malda Medical College and Hospital.
Six of his students are also admitted there. Tahidur has already filed a complaint with Old Malda police but no arrests have been made yet.
Tahidur said he was attacked with a dagger and has suffered injuries in the chest and abdomen.
The teacher said he and the students “ran to a BSF camp nearby and sought help. When some of the BSF jawans came out and reached the spot, the attackers fled,” Tahidur said.
The teacher said the bus resumed its journey towards Malda but soon they spotted eight to 10 youths on motorcycles chasing the bus.
The youths stopped the bus near Behula Bridge, half-a-kilometre from the spot where the first attack had taken place.
“The attackers got on the bus and started beating up the driver. When I protested, they thrust a dagger in my chest and abdomen,” Tahidur said.
“They were carrying firearms, sharp weapons and bombs. I somehow got off the bus and tried to stop vehicles but no one stopped,” Tahidur said. While he was out shouting for help, the attackers snatched cellphones from the students and took away Rs 10,000 in cash. Fifteen minutes later, on seeing a police patrol vehicle, the youths fled.