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Two college students were run over by a bus on EM Bypass here on Saturday morning, triggering protests by irate locals who torched three buses and clashed with police. The first-year students, who were riding bicycles, died on the spot after the government bus, heading towards Salt Lake, hit them from behind while trying to take a U-turn at around 11.30 am, eyewitnesses claimed. “Both the students were rushed to NRS Hospital, where they were declared brought dead. They have been identified as Biswajit Bhuiyan and Sanjay Banu, both 19 years old and residents of Bidhannagar,” said a police officer.
Following the accident, angry locals set the “killer” bus on fire, torched two other private buses and vandalised another one. They even attacked policemen with stones, bricks and water bottles. The protest brought traffic on EM Bypass, which connects north and south Kolkata, to a grinding halt for several hours. Sources said the driver of the bus, Lakshman Samanta (47), was detained and his licence cancelled.
“At around 11.30 am, the Traffic Control Room was informed about the accident. A government bus (WB 11A 5905) had run over two students on EM Bypass, a little ahead of the Chingrighata crossing, which falls under Bidhannagar South Police Station area. Following this, locals started agitating and pelted police with stones. The bus (S-30) was ransacked and set on fire. Two other buses were also torched,” said the officer. Police used tear gas shells to disperse the mob.
Bidhannagar Commissioner of Police Gyanwant Singh, DC (South East Division) Rupesh Kumar, and DC (Headquarters) Amit P Javalgi rushed to the spot to control the situation. Locals alleged that the accident took place due to bad traffic management and lack of police vigil on EM Bypass. As per PTI, they also demanded that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee should come and assure them of action against the guilty policemen.
“There is lack of traffic management on EM Bypass. Vehicles are always over speeding. Bus stops and crossing points are far away from each other. There is no underpass or subway in between. Today the students died, tomorrow it can be any one of us,” said Ashok Das, a local.
The protests affected traffic on EM Bypass and commuters were stuck in snarls for hours. Movement of vehicles was suspended at Chingrighata crossing from around 11.31 am. Traffic on AJC Bose Road, Chingrighata flyover, Beliaghata Main Road was disrupted. The EM Bypass route towards Parama flyover was opened from Beliaghata main road at 2.09 pm. Bypass route towards Salt Lake was opened from metropolitan crossing at 2.25 pm, while the route towards Chingrighata flyover got normal from Mathpukur crossing at around 2.26 pm. At around 2.58 pm, traffic on EM Bypass got back to normalcy.
Local TMC MLA Sujit Bose, who rushed to the spot, assured that the guilty will be arrested soon. “I have met the victims’ families and have assured them of all help from the government. The locals had some allegations against the police and the traffic system, which I have noted down. They have demanded an underpass to cross the road. We will look into it,” Bose told reporters. The state government announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of both the victims.