Tension in Shivajinagar as BMTC bus knocks down two-wheeler in front of Russell Market

There was tension in Shivajinagar for sometime after shop-keepers and passers-by threw stones at a BMTC bus when it knocked down a two-wheeler carrying a couple and their one-year-old daughter in front of Russell Market in Bangalore on Sunday.

While eyewitnesses said that the bus driver should be blamed for the accident, the police, who rushed to the spot, said that the encroachment of the footpath by vendors may have lead to the accident.

The incident occurred at around 4 p.m. when 34-year-old Syed Faisal was returning home with his wife and daughter on his two-wheeler. Syed Faisal, who was riding towards Broadway from St. Mary’s Basilica, slowed down his vehicle on seeing a road hump, when the BMTC bus on its way to Bagalur knocked down the two-wheeler, dragging the family of three, stuck underneath the bus, for a few yards.

Passers-by, who noticed the couple and the child under the bus, raised an alarm. Sensing danger, several people rushed towards the moving bus even as the driver “sat motionless”, and brought the bus to a halt manually, recalled Mohammed Idris Choudhry, general secretary of the Russell Market Merchants’ Association, who witnessed the accident.

Syed Faisal, who suffered an injury in the right hand, was rushed to Bowring Hospital from where he was taken to Victoria Hospital for further treatment. His wife and daughter suffered minor injuries.

Meanwhile, the driver fled even as the angry crowd threw stones at the bus, damaging the windowpanes. They staged a protest and damaged two other BMTC buses to give vent to their ire.

Shop-keepers said that they had opposed bus services on the narrow and overcrowded roads surrounding Russell Market. Another shopkeeper said that the footpaths are encroached upon and vehicles are parked on the roadside.

Shivaji Nagar MLA R. Roshan Baig, who rushed to the spot, said, “When the bus service was started a year ago, we had requested the police not to allow BMTC buses on these routes as it was congested. But the traffic police told us that it was only on trial basis. We are going to request the police again to stop bus service,.”

However, senior police officers said that the decision to ply buses through the Russell Market area and Broadway was taken after public demand.

“The bus driver cannot be blamed for Sunday’s accident, as vendors and shopkeepers have encroached upon the footpaths forcing pedestrians to walk on the road resulting in slowing down of traffic,” said a police officer

Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) M.A. Saleem said that the police would initiate a drive to clear the encroached footpaths in and around Russell Market. The road where the accident took place is wide enough for BMTC bus movement, he said and added that the problem is due to footpath encroachment and haphazard parking of vehicles.

Based on a complaint, the Shivaji Nagar police have taken up a case against the BMTC driver and are investigating. Additional police have been deployed.

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