| The two charred buses remain stranded on New Bypass road on Tuesday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
A private passenger bus speeding down the wrong side of a congested road smashed head-on into a motorcycle on Tuesday afternoon, touching off a wave of mob frenzy that resulted in two buses being torched and traffic being held up for over an hour.
The incident occurred at the New Bypass road area around 12.30pm after which it took the police an hour to pacify the crowd and remove the blockade.
Among the two public buses which were torched, one of them had hit a motorbike. The driver of the two-wheeler and the pillion rider suffered serious injuries.
“Two buses were set on fire. The mob first asked the passengers to get out of the vehicles and then set the buses on fire. The two men, who were hit by one of the buses while riding the motorbike, are in critical condition. They have been admitted to a private nursing home,” a police officer said.
The men on the bike were on their way towards Sipara when a bus of Raj Parivahan, a private transport company based in Muzaffarpur, hit them head-on.
“The bus was speeding and was on the wrong side. The road is being relaid and because of this there were a few diversions. The bus, which had started from Mithapur, was on its way towards Muzaffarpur. Despite plying on the wrong side, the driver didn’t bother to slow down. He couldn’t control the speed and hit the biker,” the officer said. Residents and bystanders rushed to the spot.
“The driver and the cleaner fled, which further angered the mob. The passengers were asked to alight and then the bus was set ablaze. However, the commotion didn’t stop there. The agitators soon saw another private bus heading towards Mithapur,” the officer said.
He added: “The transport company, which runs a fleet of buses named Hawaa Hawai, is known for its rash drivers. No sooner did the mob sight a Hawaa Hawai bus, locals stopped it and asked the passengers and the driver to get down and the vehicle was set on fire. The two burning buses led to a road blockade. It took us almost an hour to calm down the mob and restore order. Fire services were called in to douse the flames.”
A day earlier, after a goods carrier hit a family on bike, the crowd had bestowed similar street justice.
Two back-to-back incidents of reckless driving have brought to the fore the impatience level of people resulting in mob fury.
On Monday, residents of Mangal Talab in Patna City set a goods carrier on fire after its driver hit a couple and their son.
The couple were on their way to a temple on a motorbike to seek blessings for their son who turned one. Eyewitnesses said the goods vehicle came from behind and hit the bike, injuring the three. The driver, the residents of the area alleged, was in an inebriated state. The onlookers caught the driver, but he managed to escape. The injured were taken to a private hospital.
A mob had also torched a City Ride bus on January 17 after it hit a biker on Ashok Rajpath.
On August 4, 2013, a mob had set a school bus on fire after an accident at Sultanganj in Patna City. Prior to this, on March 17, 2013, a mob had torched three buses near Mahatma Gandhi Setu after one of it crushed a person to death while overspeeding. The bridge remained blocked for over three hours.
One of the horrific incidents, which Patna had witnessed, was way back on August 17, 2011. A driver of a tractor was burnt alive with his vehicle after he crushed two schoolchildren to death on Phulwari-Janipur road.
Police officers, however, said the problem of rash driving and the resultant mob fury was not limited to Patna.
“Unemployment is one issue. Many people have nothing to do and they take pleasure in creating commotion after an accident occurs. Patna or other districts all are the same. We are always at a risk because controlling the mob is difficult and risky. The idea of capturing the violence on camera has been fruitful because many have been put behind bars after they created ruckus post mishaps,” another police officer said.
Residents, on the other hand, said these problems would not arise if the traffic police were more vigilant. “In most cases, the traffic policemen are mute spectators as they let heavy vehicles overspeed and break rules. They often turn a blind eye when people flout norms. They should be sincere first,” Anil Kumar, a banker, said.
Truck hit man dies
A middle-aged man, identified as Rajendra Thakur, was killed on the spot when a speeding truck hit him from behind on Tuesday. The incident occurred at Dhanuki in Patna City. Thakur was posted as executive magistrate in Sahpur block development office.