Hit-and-run claims Xavier's professor

Cops hunt for clues, students in shock

By Our Special Correspondent in Ranchi
  • Published 16.06.18

UNTIMELY DEATH: The spot in Doranda, Ranchi, where professor Ashutosh Roy (in file picture above) died in an accident on Friday. Picture by Manob Chowdhary

Ranchi: A senior and much-loved professor of English at St Xavier's College, who was tipped to lead the department, died in a hit-and-run near his home on Friday morning with unconfirmed sources saying a school bus was involved.

Police so far haven't identified the vehicle that hit 58-year-old Ashutosh Roy's scooter from behind and then ran him over around 10am near Mecon roundabout in Doranda, 1.5km from his residence in Anantpur near Main Road overbridge.

A resident of Tirath Mansion, the apartment complex where Roy lived, said the professor had gone out for some personal work. The college is yet to reopen after summer holidays.

"A bystander recorded the mishap on his phone. The bus (registration number JH-01BK 4867) belongs to some school. It was overtaking from the left. Police must look for surveillance camera footage," the neighbour said, not willing to be named.

Doranda thana OC Abid Hussain said they had lodged a case and begun investigations. "The complaint filed by a relative says a bus belonging to Delhi Public School hit the professor. Some bystander too showed a traffic constable the picture of a bus, claiming it was the one that was involved in the accident. We are probing the matter," he said.

Abhay Kumar, a member of the project implementation unit of the district road safety wing who inspected the spot, said the professor wasn't wearing or carrying a helmet.

"We haven't found remains of a helmet. The scooter oddly didn't have a scratch. We haven't spoken to any eyewitness so far. It is difficult to say how the accident happened," he said, adding that they were looking for CCTV camera clues.

Thomas Dungdung, Roy's colleague in the English department, said the senior professor was a much-loved man at St Xavier's. "He was a gem of a person. He was a man who commanded equal respect from his students and colleagues. He was disciplined, yet soft-spoken. I rarely saw him lose his patience or composure in class or outside," Dungdung said.

Roy's wife, Sunita, is also a professor in the same college, but in the commerce department. "His wife and daughter are in Bangalore, but are expected by tonight," the colleague said.

Recalling one example of Roy's magnanimous character, Dungdung said he recently bore all expenses of their maid's marriage. "He (Roy) treated her (the maid) like his daughter. He not only sponsored her BEd studies and helped her get a job, but also married her off. They rarely make such men these days."

Jaishree Jha, a contractual teacher at St Xavier's who completed her PG in English last year, said Roy would be sorely missed. "We are still in shock. We can't believe he is no more. For every student he taught, he was more of a father figure. He was a man of great learning and a compassionate human being," she said.

Another professor of the college, requesting anonymity, said Roy was about to become the head of department soon. "It is an irreparable loss to the English department in particular and the college in general," he said.

Sebastin Hembrom, a PG student who is in Calcutta now, said no one ever missed Roy's classes. "His classes were always lively, with dollops of humour and positive brainstorming. He connected with all his students. I am in shock," Hembrom said over phone, summing up mass sentiments.