The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bus crushes boy on birthday

Calcutta, Feb. 17: Sourav Das had left for school this morning with two demands. It was his birthday and the six-year-old wanted a cake when he returned.

'Ma must also make rice pudding,' Sourav (in picture) had said before leaving.

Less than four hours later, he was dead.

The little boy, named after India's cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, was hit by a speeding bus at the intersection of Sarat Bose Road and Southern Avenue as he and his cousin Swapan, 18, waited on their bicycle for the lights to turn green.

'The two boys were on a cycle, standing at the intersection waiting for the green signal, when a speeding private bus on route 1B, which was trying to overtake another private bus, dashed them from the side,' said Anuj Sharma, deputy commissioner of police (south division). 'We have arrested the driver and impounded the vehicle.'

Both the boys were taken to Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratisthan (Shishumangal) hospital, where Sourav was pronounced brought dead. A critically injured Swapan, who had gone to collect his cousin from school, was later shifted to MR Bangur Hospital.

As news of the accident spread, more than 3,000 residents blocked the busy intersection up to the approach ramp to the Lake Gardens flyover. For about 40 minutes after 10, when the killer bus had ploughed into the little boy, the mob went berserk. They first wrecked the bus and then several private cars. The crowd even set fire to a traffic kiosk.

'I had gone to the accident spot while the mob was on the rampage,' said Trinamul Congress MLA Sougata Roy. 'I could perceive that the public had one broad complaint ' the traffic police are responsible for the roads having become so unsafe.'

With the situation getting out of hand, police contingents from Lake, Tollygunge and Charu Market police stations were rushed to the spot but were greeted with stones and bricks. Senior officials, including Sharma and deputy commissioner (traffic) Arun Kumar Sharma, also reached the area.

Sourav's father Sipal Das, a flower vendor, fainted when news of his son's death reached their home in the Gobindapur Rail Colony slums in Lake Gardens. He was later admitted to MR Bangur Hospital. Sourav's mother retreated into a shell. The little boy was their only son.

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