Two cases are registered against Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar for allegedly making provocative remarks prejudicial to communal harmony in the state after the blasts at a prayer convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses at Kalamassery in Kochi last month.
An angry mob on Monday attacked a police vehicle which allegedly reached the accident spot in Murshidabad four hours after a state bus plunged into a canal, killing 36 people. The police personnel and fire teams were attacked with brickbats.
A police vehicle was also set ablaze. Police fired tear gas shells to disperse the mob. The locals alleged that despite the authorities being informed, they were reluctant to take immediate action. A local alleged: “No police force could be spotted near the accident spot upto four hours from the time the bus fell into the ditch.
The authorities despite being informed did not send any help. None of the diving teams or cranes could be spotted till 8:30 am to recover the bus and search for the trapped passengers.” An injured policeman, who had to be admitted in a hospital, as a result of severe injury, said: “The police force was already out for the spot but it is not possible to reach in a jiffy.
There are traffic congestions and other contributing factors that led to the delay. But on reaching we were attacked with bricks and beaten up by a mob.” Early this morning, a blue bus of NBSTC left Karimpur for Malda via Behrampore. The bus lost control as soon as it sped into the river-bridge, known as Baali-bridge, said eye-witnesses who survived the accident.
As a vehicle was coming from the opposite direction, the bus hit the railings on the right side of the bridge and plunged into the canal, said one survivor, Sadhan Mandal. who was sitting just behind the driver’s seat. “Moments before the accident, I could see the driver talking over mobile phone.
He held the mobile in his right hand while his left hand was on the steering wheel. Then the bus jerked and the driver was about to use his right hand with the mobile-phone still in his grip. This upset the movement of our bus. Instantly, the bus hit the bridge-wall and fell in the river,” said Mandal from the bed of Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital at Behrampore.
The four deceased identified so far are Prabhati Haldar (60) from Jalangi, Chauhan Prithwiraj Nandy (12) who is a student of Sargaachi Ramakrishna Mission, Ali Baux from Juginda area of Domkal and Sujoy Majumdar, a newly appointed primary school teacher. Sujoy, a 25 year-old youth hailing from Domkal, joined a primary school in Malda last year.
The NDRF joined state disaster management personnel in rescue operation. Divers were deployed and a control room was also opened in Murshidabad district headquarters. Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi expressed sorrow over the loss of lives and conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families.