The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Wake up, Buddhadeb
Road death slur on cops

Two-and-a-half-year-old Rakesh Ghoroi was mowed down by a Tata Sumo at the crossing of Canal East Road and Maniktala Main Road on Friday morning.

Local residents alleged that the lone constable on duty at the crossing, instead of regulating the chaotic traffic, was busy collecting bribes from trucks and letting them ply on the roads, which are off-limit to heavy vehicles by day.

A mob pelted stones at traffic cops who gathered on the spot after the mishap and even tried to block the crossing. But a bigger contingent arrived and brought the situation under control.

Rakesh, clutching his mother's arm, was crossing Canal East Road, along with sister, seven-year-old Piya, at 11.30 am. He was hit by the Tata Sumo, which took a sharp turn from Maniktala Main Road towards Canal East Road. As Rakesh fell on the ground, he was crushed by the rear wheels of the vehicle.

He was rushed to NRS Medical College and Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The driver fled with his vehicle.

Rakesh is the youngest of the three children of Banya Ghoroi, who lives in Muraripukur. His father, Bijoy Ghoroi, owns a vegetable shop at the Bagmari market.

After meeting Bijoy at his shop, Banya and her children were on their way to a relative's home when the mishap occurred.

'I cannot believe my son is dead. The road was clear when we tried to cross it, but suddenly, the car appeared. Everything was over in an instant' I looked down and saw my son lying in a pool of blood,' said a wailing Banya.

As news of the accident spread, residents assembled on the spot and hurled allegations against police.

'This was bound to happen. There was no one at the crossing. The traffic constable was on the other side of Canal East Road, collecting bribes from truck drivers and vanwallahs,' said Soumya Chatterjee, a witness. 'Maniktala thana is a stone's throw away from the spot, yet cops took half-an-hour to arrive.'

Though police intervention prevented the protesters from blocking the roads, traffic was disrupted on Maniktala Main Road, Canal East and Canal West roads, and Raja Dinendra Street for a long time.

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