Mother killed by bus in race at signal
Protesters block road, blame lax policing for traffic anarchy
Barrackpore: A mother escorting her daughter to school was fatally knocked down by a private bus at Barrackpore Chiriamore on Tuesday morning after the driver allegedly jumped a traffic signal to overtake another bus.
Police said quoting witnesses that Neeta Gupta, 42, was flung in the air on impact but her daughter, a student of Class IV, had a narrow escape as she fell to the side of the road.
Neeta landed on her head from several feet high and could not be revived. She was declared dead on arrival at BN Bose Sub-divisional Hospital.
The tragedy, which occurred around 7.30am, triggered a protest by traders and commuters that disrupted traffic for more than 30 minutes. Many of the protesters blamed lack of policing for the anarchy on the roads that often results in fatalities.
"We have CCTV footage that shows mother and daughter crossing the road and the bus on route number 81 coming straight at the woman," an officer at Barrackpore police station said. "Based on a preliminary investigation, we have come to know that the bus driver ignored the red light. Some witnesses told us that the bus was racing another."
Some people waiting for transport and shopkeepers ran after the bus and stopped it some distance away, prompting the driver to jump out and flee. The bus was impounded, but the vehicle it was competing with hadn't been traced till evening.
Buses on route number 81 run between the Barrackpore sub-divisional court and Barasat town, which is the sub-divisional headquarters of North 24-Parganas.
Since several buses start from in front of the court, they race each other down that stretch to catch passengers stepping out of Barrackpore railway station.
A police officer said quoting multiple accounts that the driver of the bus involved in the fatal accident appeared to be in a hurry to cross Chiriamore before the other one. "The driver possibly wanted to reach the bus stop at the railway station before the other vehicle; so he ignored the red signal and continued speeding."
Camera footage of the crossing was checked to confirm if the bus had at all slowed down at the crossing.