A woman in her mid-sixties and her neighbour’s five-year-old daughter were crushed to death under the wheels of a taxi that mounted a pavement on Kailash Bose Street, in north Calcutta, on Tuesday. Both were run over while waiting to buy their morning bread.
Four others, including the child’s four-year-old brother and mother, and the elder woman’s 10-year-old grand-daughter, were injured after being trapped under the taxi. They have been admitted to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital.
The victims, Gyandevi Jaiswal and Varsha Gujrati, were declared brought dead at the same hospital. They had been dragged along by the taxi for around 50 metres on the pavement, witnesses said. “Both the woman and the child were finally crushed under the vehicle’s rear wheels,” said G. Mukherjee, sub-inspector of the ‘fatal squad’ wing of the traffic police department.
Residents of the locality later handed over the taxi driver to the Amherst Street police. The killer cab has been impounded.
Piecing together the tragedy on Tuesday, Mukherjee said: “At around 8.10 am, the taxi, reversing at full speed, rammed into the crowded pavement in front of a bread-shop. All the six people had queued up in front of the shop to buy some bread.
“The taxi driver, apparently, did not realise that he had backed too far off the road and instead of slamming the brakes, kept on accelerating, dragging the victims along. The vehicle finally hit an auto-rickshaw parked on the pavement and came to a halt.”
Kanti Gujrati, father of five-year-old Varsha, was inconsolable. “My daughter died in front of my eyes. I was at a roadside hand-pump, while Varsha and my four-year-old son Rahul were standing in front of the shop. Suddenly, I heard a loud noise and saw the taxi mounting the pavement and hitting the auto-rickshaw. I started running towards my children...”
Kanti reached the spot to find both Varsha and Rahul trapped under the wheels of the taxi. His wife, Maya, was also among the others the taxi had rammed into. “Some of us pulled up the vehicle, while the rest dragged them all out. We rushed to the hospital but the doctors declared my daughter dead,” said Kanti, a local trader. “Now, my son is fighting for his life and my wife’s condition is critical.”
Family members of Gyandevi Jaiswal, residing on Kailash Bose Street, were in no position to speak. “Gyandevi had gone to the shop along with her grand-daughter Kitty. “The 10-year-old girl has been hospitalised with serious head and chest injuries,” said sub-inspector Mukherjee.