| MANGLED REMAINS: (Top): The pool car that nine-year-old Kaustav Bhattacharya was taking to school before he was killed in a mishap. (Middle)The car that is said to have knocked down Delhi trader Ratanlal Ladia, itself rammed into by an unknown vehicle. (Bottom) Firemen douse the flames on the private bus on route 212 that ran over a man on Sarat Bose Road. Pictures by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya and Pabitra Das
The streets of the city were marked by blood, mangled metal and shattered glass as four mishaps over 24 hours claimed two lives and left two people battling serious injuries.
The last in the series of road accidents occurred near the Sarat Bose Road-Elgin Road crossing on Thursday evening, when a private bus hit Balmiki Singh while trying to overtake a minibus. The 46-year-old man from Gopalganj, in Bihar, who works in a shop on Jamnalal Bajaj Street, later died at SSKM Hospital.
The driver of the bus on route 212 was beaten up by the mob, which later set the vehicle on fire. By the time a lone fire tender arrived at the accident site, the bus was charred.
According to witness Taj Ali, Singh had got off his bicycle to avoid a puddle when the bus hit him from behind. It was trying to overtake a minibus from the left.
“The front wheels of the bus ran over his right arm and then the rear wheels rolled over his legs. He first cried out in pain and then fell silent,” said Ali.
Driver Manoj Jha jumped off the bus and ran towards Elgin Road. When he spotted a police jeep, he screamed for help. “The jeep picked him up but it was soon stopped by a mob of around 1,000 people. The protestors, baying for the driver’s blood, dragged Jha out of the police vehicle and thrashed him,” said a vegetable vendor on the spot. Then the bus was set ablaze.
“We have started a case of rioting,” said Jawed Shamim, the deputy commissioner of police (south).
The day had begun on a tragic note in another end of town when a nine-year-old boy was killed while going to school.
The Class III student of South Point High School died when the speeding pool car he was in lost control and hit a private bus on VIP Road, in the Golaghata area of Lake Town.
This pushed up the death count on perilous VIP Road, where accidents have become a way of life — and death.
On Wednesday afternoon, a 60-year-old businessman was hit by a car near the Lake Town bus stop. Ratanlal Ladia, a visitor from Delhi, was standing close to the bus stop when he was knocked down by a speeding vehicle.
“He suffered serious injuries on his head and legs. The fracture in his right leg is really bad and he may even need amputation of a limb. We are keeping him under observation,” said a spokesperson for the nursing home where Ladia is undergoing treatment.
Police were not sure which vehicle had slammed into Ladia, but some witnesses said the car that had hit the elderly man had, in turn, been hit by another speeding vehicle.
The same spot witnessed yet another accident on Thursday evening when a Maruti van hit a car in which singer Nachiketa was travelling.
“The accident took place in front of Lake Town bus stop at 4pm. It was a close shave for me,” said Nachiketa, grateful to have escaped unscathed.
Police said the accident occurred when the car carrying the singer was coming from Lake Town towards the city. The Maruti van coming from Bangur lost control and slammed into the other car.
Three hours later, a Maruti car and a Tata Sumo hit an Indica near the Lake Town-VIP Road crossing. A girl in her mid-20s who was at the wheel was knocked unconscious.
“The accident took place when she stopped at the Lake Town traffic signal. The two other vehicles came and rammed into her car. She has been admitted to a local nursing home but we are yet to ascertain her identity, as she had not regained consciousness till late on Thursday,” said a police officer.