Residents of Siliguri are stunned by the deaths of five youths whose Independence Day joyride in a car ended in a 500-foot-deep gorge near Kurseong on Saturday night, and whose bodies were retrieved on Monday after a massive search.
College students Subrata Das, Bikram Das, Rishav Das and Arghanil Kundu, and their footballer friend Raj Singh, fondly nicknamed Ronaldo, had gone to the Dooars on Saturday, come back to Siliguri, and in the evening left for Kurseong.
Rishav was behind the wheel when the car veered off the Subhash Ghisingh Marg on Saturday night and plunged into the gorge near Kurseong, said a family friend. He added that the youths had not taken any family car, as was initially reported, but had rented one for their trip.
On Monday evening, Rathkhola residents saw Rishav, Subrata, Bikram and Arghanil — who lived there — make their last journey in hearses.
On Tuesday, Siliguri’s Milanpally area bid a tearful goodbye to promising footballer Raj, 19, who was called Ronaldo after the Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Before the cremation, Raj’s mortal remains were taken to his home and to the Babupara Boys’ Club ground where hundreds had assembled. “Raj was a popular footballer and had contributed to many of our club’s victories,” said Abir Roy, one of the 100-odd club members. “We called him Ronaldo and we will all miss him.”
Raj lived with his mother Molina Devi and two sisters. His father had passed away around five years back.
“On Sunday evening, we were playing in the club ground when his mother came and asked us if we knew where he was. Some hours later, we came to know about the accident on Saturday night,” said Joy Majumdar, another club footballer.
Like Molina, Rishav’s mother Pramoli Das was inconsolable. Her neighbour said Pramoli’s husband Chanchal had died in a road accident seven years ago. Rishav was her only son. “She is shattered,” the neighbour added.
“We had no idea that Rishav knew driving,” said a family friend Bagha Pain.