MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Calcutta: Speeding truck crushes seven-year-old boy near his school, residents go on the rampage

Souranil, who was to celebrate his birthday this month, was on a cycle with his father who is critically injured; police tear gas shells land in Barisha High School as a result of which teachers and students fall ill

Sougata Mukhopadhyay Calcutta Published 04.08.23, 01:19 PM
Locals protest as security personnel stand guard during a protest following a road accident in which a student of the Barisha High School was killed by a speeding truck, in Calcutta.

Locals protest as security personnel stand guard during a protest following a road accident in which a student of the Barisha High School was killed by a speeding truck, in Calcutta. PTI picture

Violence erupted on the streets of Calcutta on Friday morning after a group of extremely agitated local residents in the Barisha area of Behala clashed with the police on Friday following a road accident in which a seven-year-old boy was crushed under the wheels of a speeding truck and his father critically injured.

The incident took place on the state highway near Behala Chowrasta around 7am when Souranil Sarkar, a Class II student and resident of Nabapalli in Thakurpukura, was about to enter his school (Barisha High School), riding on his father’s bicycle. The truck, allegedly moving at a high speed, hit the two wheeler killing the boy on the spot and crushed his father, Saroj Sarkar’s legs, before escaping from the area.

ADVERTISEMENT
A school student covers his face to protect himself from the smell of tear gases during a protest by locals following a road accident in which a student of the Barisha High School was killed by a speeding truck, in Calcutta.

A school student covers his face to protect himself from the smell of tear gases during a protest by locals following a road accident in which a student of the Barisha High School was killed by a speeding truck, in Calcutta. PTI picture

The injured parent was later shifted to the Trauma Centre at SSKM Hospital where doctors confirmed that a corrective surgery would have to be performed on his legs. Police, meanwhile, was understood to have recorded the victim’s statement on what caused the accident.

The incident raised questions on the efficacy of the state government-run Safe Drive Save Life programme and recurrent traffic safety weeks besides pointing fingers at alleged corruption indulged in by traffic police personnel which led to unauthorized vehicles plying within the city during rush hour.

Eyewitnesses to the tragedy and local residents were furious. They vandalized police vehicles and the office of the Diamond Harbour traffic guard and set them on fire, ransacked and torched private busses and two wheelers and even brick batted the armed police and Rapid Action Force personnel who resorted to lathicharge and fired tear gas shells to disperse the mob.

The errant truck, which was transporting mud, was later apprehended near Santragachhi on Kona Expressway, over 15km from the accident site, by Howrah city police. The driver was immediatley handed over Kolkata Police.

Little Souranil was supposed to celebrate his next birthday in less than three weeks, school teachers said, and the child was very excited about it. The wails of the hapless mother, clutching Souranil’s school bag to her chest, rent the air at the local Vidyasagar hospital where the child’s body was kept for autopsy.

Local residents complained about the slackness of on-duty traffic police personnel who they alleged routinely allow trucks to ply on the busy road during undesignated hours in exchange for bribes. They also alleged that they allowed the killer truck to escape after the accident and was forced to seize it far away from the accident site after the agitation turned violent in Behala.

Damaged public bus after a clash between police personnel and locals following a road accident in which a student of Barisha High School was killed by a speeding truck.

Damaged public bus after a clash between police personnel and locals following a road accident in which a student of Barisha High School was killed by a speeding truck. PTI picture

At least five rioters were arrested in connection with the skirmishes which left both police and civilians injured. Several students and teachers of the Barisha High School fell ill and complained of severe irritations in their eyes as a result of the chemical-laden tear gas, a few shells of which landed inside the school premises next to classroom windows.

Over 450 students and teachers were reportedly present and trapped inside the school premises when the retaliatory police action took place.

School headmaster Arjun Roy lashed out at the police for bursting tear gas shells near the school. “This isn’t the first time that an accident has happened before the school although this is the first time it turned fatal. Our written requests before the local Behala PS for setting up traffic guards before the school gate have fallen on deaf ears,” he alleged.

Rush hour traffic on the busy arterial Diamond Harbor Road was thrown out of gear for several hours on Friday morning inconveniencing commuters who were headed for central and southern parts of the city.

Calcutta police commissioner Vineet Goyal visited the accident site soon after the clashes and said that police went by the book to take necessary action in accordance with the emerging situation on the ground. “We are looking into the cause of the accident and also into the ways and means to pre-empt them in future,” he said.

A jittery state administration dispatched a team of school education department officials to the school to speak to the administration and teachers. The team was also scheduled to meet the victim’s family. State chief secretary HK Dwivedi also spoke to the CP and reportedly instructed him for prompt and necessary corrective action.

Joint CP (traffic) Rupesh Kumar, who sustained a head injury during the clashes, was admitted to SSKM for a CT scan. Two other injured police personnel were also admitted to the same hospital.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT