Midnapore, June 27: Sunil Mahato lost his life after being kicked out of a moving bus for protesting against lewd comments being made at his wife.
As he rolled off the bus, thrown against the door by a kick from one of the four tormentors of the couple, his wife Bharati jumped after him and their four-year-old son was left behind.
Mahato had boarded a private bus with his wife and son Prakash at Jhargram on the Midnapore-Purulia Road, 150 km from Calcutta, last evening, to return home from his in-laws’.
The conductor, driver and two helpers began to behave indecently with Bharati, forcing him to protest and expose himself to an assault. After lying in a hospital bed in an unconscious state for over three hours with serious wounds in his head, Mahato succumbed to his injuries last night.
Around 5 pm, when Mahato and his family got on the bus, it had no passengers but only the quartet, intoxicated.
“The moment I saw only four men, I wanted to get off. Their behaviour was not normal, but there was no option because the bus, by then, had started moving,” recalled Bharati. “I don’t know what will happen to my child,” she cried.
A few minutes later, the driver stopped the vehicle and asked one of the helpers to take his place. “He came in and took the seat opposite mine. The conductor and another helper joined him,” she recounted. “Soon, they started passing lewd remarks. My husband warned them, but they didn’t pay heed.”
Mahato, sensing trouble, asked the helper, who was then driving the bus, to stop. “He didn’t listen. Then he (Mahato) stood on the staircase and tried to open the window. I ran to him and held his hand,” Bharati added.
The tormentors shouted at her: “Instead of holding his hand, come here and hold ours.”
As Mahato protested, one of them took out a razor and slashed his face. “Another man stood up and kicked his chest. I saw him fall on the door first and as soon as it opened he fell on the road,” said Bharati.
A group of labourers working along the road noticed Mahato as he fell. “They chased the vehicle and started pelting stones. As the bus slowed, Bharati jumped while the son remained inside. A few metres away, the culprits stopped the bus and dropped the child. All of them then sped away,” said a police official.