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Cabs off the road, protesters target those who defy diktat

The law violation by taxi drivers on Monday was peaceful only as long as union leaders made speeches from atop a truck. Once the speeches were over, and as the leaders started discussing whether to call another strike on Tuesday and the contingent of cops let their guard down, some drivers turned violent, damaging cabs and scaring off commuters. Metro was witness to two such incidents.

Where: Bentinck Street, in front of KC Das

When: 4.05pm

What: Around 12 drivers, many in uniform, stood in front of a taxi, asked the passengers to get down and dragged out the driver by his collar and tore his shirt. They started tweaking the wipers and banging on the windscreen when policemen posted at the Esplanade East-JL Nehru Road crossing rushed to the spot. Seeing the cops, the protesters fled.

Where: Across the road on CR Avenue

When: 4.09pm

What: The same set of drivers began ransacking a taxi that was ferrying a young patient suffering from a nervous disorder. The protesters smashed the front and rear windshields and damaged the boot of the taxi.

Jalaluddin Ahmed, who was sitting on the rear seat with his 13-year-old son Taufiq, said the drivers attacked the taxi all of a sudden.

“Our taxi was stuck in a snarl when we saw a group of people running towards us. Without saying anything, they began throwing bricks at our taxi. One such brick barely missed my son’s head but he suffered a cut on his hand from a glass shard,” said Ahmed, a resident of Bhangar.

He had hired the taxi in front of Apex Nursing Home in Baguiati to reach SSKM Hospital. “The driver was reluctant but agreed to ply after seeing my son’s condition. We had painted ‘rogi (patient)’ on the windshield but the attackers still did not spare us,” Ahmed said.

Bystanders brought a shocked Taufiq out of the taxi, while a man took the father and son to the hospital in his car. The attackers had fled by the time the cops reached the spot.