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Conductor punches passenger

A minibus conductor was arrested on Tuesday for punching a man in the face when he and his cousin refused to pay “grossly high” additional fare for a bag they were carrying.

Subir Saha, a 47-year-old trader from Maniktala, said he dialled the police helpline after the assault and narrated the incident. Officers intercepted the bus at the Strand Road-KK Tagore Street crossing and arrested the conductor, 22-year-old Naushad Ali.

Saha said he and cousin Subrata Podder boarded the Tikiapara-Salt Lake bus at Howrah Maidan around 12.30pm with a bag of clothes.

“Subrata is a cloth trader and was carrying a bag full of children’s trousers. When we boarded the bus, the conductor did not mention that we would have to pay extra for the luggage. As the bus came to Strand Road, he demanded Rs 40 for the bag. He became aggressive when we tried to reason that such grossly high fare cannot be charged for a small bag.”

“He suddenly threw a punch and his knuckles hit me right under my right eye after I refused to pay the extra fare,” Saha alleged.

“I would have paid something extra but not Rs 40. That was too much. The conductor was extremely rude. He also pulled me by my collar.”

Saha didn’t get off the bus but called Lalbazar control room. “I gave them the route and location of the minibus. After 10 minutes, policemen on a motorcycle intercepted the bus at the crossing. They took down my complaint and arrested the conductor.”

Joint commissioner (headquarters) of police Rajeev Mishra said the response time between complaint and action (arrest) was 10 minutes.

But a similar call for help from two men assaulted by a taxi driver and his friends near Bhowanipore on Monday night had not yielded a quick response. The caller had to speak to officers of helplines and Bhowanipore police station, only to be told to quickly leave the place of assault.