A six-year-old boy was run over by a state bus in Diamond Harbour on Monday morning, sparking road rage and traffic disruption.
The accident occurred around 9.45 am when Abdul Habib Mollah was going to school with his parents. According to witnesses, as the state bus, speeding towards Calcutta from Kakdwip, neared the boy, it started honking loudly. The boy panicked and ran into the middle of the road. The bus ran him over.
Local residents tried to stop the bus but it sped away, knocking down two pedestrians in the process. All the three injured were taken to Diamond Harbour sub-divisional hospital, where the boy succumbed to his injuries. The condition of the two was stated to be critical.
A mob set up a roadblock, stopped buses and lorries, and smashed some of the windscreens. The brick-batting continued for quite some time.
The protesters blocked the road for more than two hours, demanding the arrest of the driver. Traffic in the entire area ground to a halt.
Basudeb Das, officer-in-charge, Diamond Harbour police station, finally arrived on the spot and persuaded the squatters to lift the blockade. He also assured them that the driver of the killer bus would be arrested. “As it was a government bus, it will not be difficult for us to track him down,” claimed Das.
Sujit Nath, a resident of the area, said: “Accidents occur here frequently, as long-distance buses refuse to slow down even on crowded stretches. The drivers are hardly bothered about the safety of pedestrians.”
Asit Basu, chairman of Diamond Harbour municipality, said steps were being taken to rein in such rogue drivers. “Some of them flout every traffic rule in the book as they speed through the area, endangering the lives of passengers and pedestrians. I shall soon sit with the bus-owners and operators to resolve the problem,” he promised.