KOLKATA: Shiburani Sarkar, 64, had accompanied her 78-year-old husband Sudhangshu to his former office at 4, Church Lane on Tuesday afternoon to collect his pension. The two deposited the cheque at the United Bank of India branch on Old Court House Street and crossed the road to catch a bus back home to Entally. Shiburani was helping her husband on to the pavement when a Howrah-Baishnabghata minibus came hurtling down. It squeezed through the gap between the pavement and another minibus of the same route waiting at the stop, knocking down Shiburani and dragging her body some 200 yards.
By that time what remained of the elderly woman was a mangled mass of blood and flesh. Once the body got disentangled, the driver tried to speed away, but was forced to stop by pedestrians. He, however, managed to walk away in the melee masquerading as a passenger. Anger erupted at the spot and the stretch on Old Court House Street between the Great Eastern Hotel and R N Mukherjee Road intersection turned into a battlefield. A thousand-strong mob set fire to the killer bus and damaged another. A traffic sergeant who arrived at the spot and tried to calm down the mob was heckled and chased away
Police reinforcement and fire engines arrived at 4.15 pm, a good 40 minutes after the accident, even though Lalbazar police headquarters is just 500 yards away. By then, the bus was gutted and its tyres had exploded. "The bus was torched by a 2,000-strong mob. They also tried to set ablaze the other bus but we intervened. However, the second bus was badly damaged,"said Anuj Sharma, DC (Headquarters). Javed Shamim, DC (Traffic), said the licence of the errant driver will be permanently revoked. "It is not the accident alone, but the inhuman manner in which the driver continued to drag the body along that has prompted us to take this decision. We shall ensure that he does not drive anymore,"Shamim said. Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has sought a report on the incident from police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee.