A five-year old boy was killed but his eight-month-old brother had a miraculous escape in a road accident near the E.M. Bypass-Salt Lake bypass crossing at Chingrihata on Sunday morning.
The taxi, which hit victim Somnath Mondal, was set on fire by a mob, which pelted stones at and damaged a CSTC bus, blocking the road for more than an hour, additional superintendent of police (Salt Lake) Ajay Nand said. Police burst tear-gas shells and resorted to a lathicharge to disperse the mob.
Somnath and his brother Prem, along with their mother, were waiting for a bus when the taxi hit them at 7.30 in the morning. Somnath was killed on the spot, but his brother, who fell from his mother’s lap, survived the blow without a scratch.
Residents of Trinath Pally, in Salt Lake’s added area, said the three were going to Tarakeswar. Somnath used to study at Trinath Pally primary school and his father works as a daily labourer at a local bheri.
According to Nand, the taxi lost control and hit Somnath and his mother Minati after another vehicle, moving at high speed, dangerously overtook it near the Chingrihata crossing. “It was neither the fault of the mother and the child, nor that of the taxi,” Nand said. However, the taxi driver has been arrested.
Soon, the road turned into a battlefield, as residents set the taxi ablaze and also hurled stones, severely damaging another bus. The blockade disrupted traffic movement.
The mob also hurled stones at the police, injuring eight of them, sub-divisional officer of Salt Lake Sujay Chanda said. Seven tear-gas shells were burst to bring the situation under control, he added.
Local residents claim their repeated pleas to ensure safety of pedestrians in the area have fallen on deaf ears. “People from distant villages like Kulipara, Chailabi, Hatgachi and others cross the EM Bypass on this spot. So, there is a need for a footbridge here,” said Brojogopal Sarkar, a resident of the area. Others complained that residents of Shantinagar and Sukanta Nagar had appealed to the authorities for a footbridge, but to no effect.
Police feel once the proposed right-turning flyover from EM Bypass to the Salt Lake bypass is complete, the number of road accidents should go down.