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Minister block cuffs on duo

Two auto drivers were arrested after allegedly refusing to make way for minister Jyotipriya Mullick’s car to enter Khadya Bhavan, in the New Market area, on Monday afternoon.

Police said the two auto drivers — Bimal Dey and Mohammad Humayun — refused to move their vehicles from in front of the Khadya Bhavan gate while Mullick’s car was stuck behind them.

The food and supplies minister got off his car and walked about 50 metres to his office on the first floor of the building after asking the police to take action against the two.

Displaying promptness that is hardly visible when ordinary people are inconvenienced by errant auto drivers, the police brought the three-wheelers and the drivers into the Khadya Bhavan compound.

Two traffic sergeants and officers from nearby New Market police station rushed to the spot and arrested Dey and Humayun.

“The two have been charged under IPC section 283, which deals with causing danger or obstruction in any public way or line of navigation. The autos have been seized,” said an officer of New Market police station.

The arrival of a dozen policemen within minutes and arrest of the auto drivers were in contrast to the normal reaction time of the cops. The police spent 10 minutes at the spot in front of Khadya Bhavan and whisked away the accused.

“A cabinet minister of the state government had to walk because of these two auto drivers. Don’t you think it was reason enough to act promptly?” asked an officer of New Market police station.

The police said the incident occurred around 3.20pm. “I was in a hurry to reach office because some important work and meetings were pending. Two autos were blocking the entrance to Khadya Bhavan when my car was about to take a left turn from Free School Street. The auto drivers were busy collecting fares from commuters. I got off and walked,” said Mullick.

According to police sources, after Mullick’s car got stuck, his guard asked the two auto drivers to clear the way immediately.

“The drivers shouted back, saying the car would have to wait till they finished collecting the fares. They were unaware that a minister was in the car,” said a police officer.

“I asked police officers not to be harsh with the two poor drivers. It’s a fact that sometimes autos become a menace on city roads. We need to make the drivers aware of some basic traffic rules,” said Mullick.