KOLKATA: In retaliation to rash driving, irate passengers of a private thrashed the driver and conductor on on Friday night. The bus had been racing against another on the same route and had hit a bike and threw some passengers off their seats when the driver applied the emergency brakes.

Though the driver managed to flee, the conductor was so badly beaten that he had had to be taken to and has been advised bed rest for a few days. One of the accused passengers was arrested from the spot.

At least three back-to-back incidents involving buses had been reported recently in the city, in which an elderly man crossing the road near lost an arm after coming between two racing private buses on Thursday, a teenager was pushed off a crowded bus in Salt Lake on Friday and a cyclist fractured a leg after being hit by a bus at crossing on Saturday.

Police said on Friday, the Bypass-bound bus on route 239B was racing another when it hit a bike in front of Khanna High School near Sealdah around 9pm.

The biker lost his balance and fell and some of the passengers in the bus were injured after being flung off their seats. Some even rammed their heads and limbs into the metal backrests attached to the seats.

“The passengers said they had been asking the driver to drive with caution for quite some time as it had been racing with the other buses for several minutes. To make things worse, one of the passengers standing on the footboard, who was about to get off at an approaching stop, lost his balance and fell off the vehicle. The enraged passengers began blaming the conductor and the driver,” said an officer of Sealdah traffic guard.

The altercation between the conductor and the passengers soon snowballed into a scuffle. The conductor started an argument and some of the passengers — led by Paban Roy alias Kalu — began raining blows on him. Seeing the incident growing out of control, the driver, who had initially tried to save the conductor, jumped out of the bus and fled. Later, officers of Sealdah traffic guard and cops from Entally police station reached the spot to rescue the conductor.

Seeing the cops arrive, most passengers dispersed, but Roy, a local resident, was nabbed. The middle-aged conductor, Prabid Kar, a resident of Kalopur in North 24 Parganas’ Bongaon, was taken to NRS hospital, less than a kilometre from the spot. Later, the owner of the bus and other union members reached the police station and lodged a complaint.

Police started a case under IPC sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 114 (abetment to the crime) against Roy and others who had assaulted the conductor.

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