The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mamata mishap sit-in halts cars

Traffic came to a standstill for over two hours on Hazra Road on Monday, after a pedestrian was killed and eight others were injured when a private bus on route 138 spun out of control and mounted the pavement. All the injured were rushed to SSKM Hospital. One was stated to be in a critical condition.

Bystanders and residents of the area, who said the accident was the outcome of rash driving, blocked the crossing as a mark of protest, causing a snarl at Hazra. Later, Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who lives a stone’s throw away from the accident site, joined the demonstrators and sat in with them.

Mamata said a middle-aged person was run over on the same spot two months ago. She demanded that an auto-signalling system be installed on the Hazra crossing to check rash driving. She lifted the blockade after senior police officers assured her that measures would be taken to curb reckless driving.

Kuldeep Singh, deputy commissioner of police, headquarters, said the incident occurred around 12.20 pm at the intersection of Hazra Road and Harish Mukherjee Road. “The bus, speeding towards the Hazra crossing, lost control and hit a Santro. Then, it knocked down a motorcycle-rider. The bus finally mounted the pavement, mowing down pedestrians and stopped after hitting an electric-post,” said Singh.

The deceased, identified as Shravan Mahato, 30, was crushed between the bus and the electric-post. Mahato, a resident of Hyde Road, died on the spot.

Singh said the accident was, apparently, the result of reckless driving. “It seems the bus hit the Santro while overtaking another vehicle,” he said.

Local people took the injured to SSKM Hospital. They were admitted there. Doctors said the condition of one of them, identified as Ashoke Kumar Shau, was critical.

The driver of the killer bus managed to escape. Police impounded the vehicle and it was taken to Kalighat police station.

As news of the accident spread, a group of 150 Trinamul activists, along with local people, held a sit-in on Hazra Road, blocking traffic movement on both flanks. The situation spun out of control when Mamata Banerjee reached the spot and joined the demonstrators.

Soon, senior police officers, including deputy commissioner (south) Harman Preet Singh, rushed to the spot. Mamata demanded immediate posting of traffic constables, under the supervision of senior officers, on the accident spot.

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