Calcutta, Nov. 5: The boatman and owner of the mechanised boat that sank on Sunday, killing at least nine persons, were arrested from Raidighi in South 24-Parganas today.
The overcrowded boat had capsized in a canal when the 70 passengers in their hurry to disembark all collected on one side of the boat. Most of the passengers were members of the Ganatantrik Mahila Samity, who were on their way to Kultali to attend a rally addressed by CPM state secretary Anil Biswas. Seven women and two children were drowned.
In view of the accident, members of the Raidighi Nadipath Paribahan Karmi Samity have decided that no boatman will be allowed to carry passengers, animals or goods in the hull of a boat. Moreover, every boatman must have a valid permit.
“If any boatman is found violating the rules he will be penalised and, if necessary, his boat will be seized,” said a member.
The arrested were identified as Asoke Haldar, the boatman, and Karim Molla, the owner. Additional superintendent of police S.S. Panda said both had been absconding after the incident.