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...and the one that got away

Debshankar Sinha would have wished he were a VIP the day an auto damaged his 18-month-old car and the driver added insult to injury by giving him a mouthful in front of a cop.

The accident had occurred barely 200 metres from the spot where an auto hit a high court judge’s car on Wednesday, with different consequences of course!

Sinha, 44, recounts to Metro how angry and helpless he had felt when the traffic officer on duty rebuked him for “holding up traffic” rather than book the driver who had damaged his car and then abused him.

The incident occurred in August 2011, when my Maruti Ritz was barely a year-and-a-half old. I remember it was around 8.30pm and I had just crossed Bijon Setu and halted at the Gariahat crossing, from where I was to take a right turn towards my home on Nandi Street. As the traffic light turned green, I was jolted by the sound of an auto ramming into my car from behind before scraping the left side of the body.

The auto was apparently in a hurry to speed past the signal and had hit the bumper of my car so hard that it came off. I got off to confront the driver for his rash driving, at which he advanced aggressively towards me and started hurling abuse. I was hoping the police officer on duty would pull up the auto driver, but he targeted me instead. He accused me of holding up traffic and ordered me to clear out immediately.

With my car damaged and traffic behind me honking incessantly, I felt disgusted like never before. It wasn’t just the accident; what I couldn’t take was the driver’s reaction to it.

Puro dosh ta aapnar, bujhechen (It’s all your fault),” he yelled, the accusation peppered with expletives.

I told him that I was in the right lane, along the median divider, to take a turn and that it was he who wanted to get ahead and go straight. His gestures suggested he would assault me if I continued in the same vein. By then, several other auto drivers had gathered to show solidarity with him.

The cop on duty saw everything but chose to be stern with me. “Ei jaygata ekhuni khali korun (Clear the road immediately),” the cop ordered.

I realised I was not going to get justice standing there. And what good would come out of a complaint if cops felt duty-bound to protect lawless autos?

The next day, I took my car for repairs. Auto drivers continue to drive rashly on that stretch. As for me, I try to be extra careful whenever there’s an auto near my car.