Massive violence erupted in Kolkata after a speeding govt bus of the route S-30 allegedly skipped the traffic signal and mowed down two college students on Saturday. The bus reportedly jumped signal at Chingrighata crossing on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass (EM Bypass).
The college students who died on the spot were Sanjay Basu and Biswajit Bhuniya and both belong to the locality adjacent to the bypass. The first year college students were apparently crossing the road to buy some sweets when the accident took place. Soon after the mishap, clashes erupted between locals and police in the area. Locals accused the police of neglecting responsibility at an accident-prone crossing. The enraged crowd torched four buses and even vandalised a police vehicle and a fire tender present at the spot. They also rained stones on the police at Shantinagar locality near the junction.
The police also responded back by lathi-charging and lobbing tear gas shells on the mob. RAF was also deployed to control the situation. Media was also targeted in the violence even as locals ransacked private cars and taxis.
EM Bypass is the major expressway in Kolkata that connects Dumdum airport and city’s IT hub Sector V of Salt Lake with rest of the city. Following the violence, the road was blocked for more than four hours. Though the accused driver managed to escape initially, he was soon nabbed and his license has been permanently canceled.
According to media reports, local Trinamool Congress MLA Sujit Basu reached the spot to clarify that ‘outsiders’ were behind the violence. He even promised help to the families of the deceased. “The locals want a subway to cross the busy road. I have spoken to the locals to understand their problems. The government will try to help the families of the two students who died,” Hindustan Times quoted Bose as saying.
Bose added that "It was an unfortunate accident but I urge people to remain calm."
This incident comes right after a number of road mishaps in West Bengal. On January 29, a bus plunged into a canal in Murshidabad district, killing at least 44 people. On January 17, eight people were killed in Kharagpur in East Midnapore district when another bus fell into a canal.