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Image: One of the buses torched by the mob after Sanjay Murmu and Biswajit Bhuniya (inset) were mowed dead by a bus at Chingrighata Crossing in Kolkata on Saturday. 

Kolkata: CHINGHRIGHATA Crossing on EM Bypass, close to Salt Lake stadium, today turned a battlefield after two college students were mowed dead by a bus in the morning.

The accident took place around 11 am and the consequent outrage of people of the area led to traffic coming to a grinding halt for three hours on the near 8 km stretch between Parama Island and Ultadanaga on EM Bypass. Traffic movement between Kolkata and New Town was also affected.

Sanjay Murmu and Biswajit Bhuniya of Shantinagar near Chingrighata Crossing were cycling back home after buying sweets for the marriage of a friend’s elder brother when they were run over by a private bus of Howrah-Salt Lake Sector V route.

The two 19-year-old boys, who studied first-year commerce at Bangabasi College at Sealdah, were crushed dead by the reckless bus on the spot. The driver then fled by abandoning the bus near the accident spot.

Another government bus torched by the mob.
Another government bus torched by the mob.

As soon as the news of the boys being mowed dead spread in the locality, their relatives, neighbours, and people from the slums in the vicinity blocked EM Bypass at Chingrighata Crossing. A small police team reached the spot and asked the agitators to lift the blockade.

This sparked off a spontaneous violence and a section of the agitators broke the windscreen of a police car. Their allegation was that despite the Beleghata traffic guard located nearby, there is hardly any vigil to avert accident. Instead policemen stay busy in extorting a bribe from rogue vehicles.

The violent agitators next targeted two government buses and a private car by setting fire to them. The buses got charred completely; the car survived with some burns to its frontal part.

This apart, eight more private cars, which got stuck at the site due to the agitation, were damaged by stone-brick pelting. Flower vases placed on the road median along the road stretch were also damaged.

A car that survived with partial burns after mob set fire to it.
A car that survived with partial burns after mob set fire to it.

Trinamool Bidhannagar (Salt Lake) MLA Sujit Bose went to the spot to pacify the agitators but was booed down. Finding the situation going out of control, police brought in reinforcement only to come under the brickbats hurled by the mob. Police retaliated first with a lathi-charge and then firing of teargas shells.

The situation came under control only around 2 pm and the traffic resumed on EM Bypass around 3 pm after police towed away the buses and cars burned and damaged by the mob.

The cops have also managed to arrest the driver of the bus that mowed dead the two youths. Identified as Laxman Samanta, the driver has been booked for murder and his licence has been revoked with immediate effect.