A mob comprising more than 500 people burned down a private bus that hit a motorcycle on Thursday killing a 58-year-old man, Sasidharan, and his teenage daughter, Athira, at Bharanikavu near here. The crowd turned irate because reckless driving by the bus driver had caused the accident, an eyewitness said.
The bus was operating on its routine schedule from Chavara to Adoor at the time of the accident. Sasidharan was taking Athira, a Plus Two student at the Sasthamcotta Higher Secondary School, to the tuition centre. While he was taking a right deviation the bus knocked them down and ran over them killing both on the spot.
Eyewitnesses said that Sasidharan had flashed the right indicator and even signalled with his hand while taking the right turn. But the bus driver ignored the signals. Immediately after the accident, which occurred at 7.45 a.m., the driver brought the bus to a halt and the crew fled the scene.
The mob smashed the windshields of the bus initially. When they tried to burn the bus they were blocked by a police team from the nearby Sooranad police station. But the mob attacked the police team and set the bus on fire. Police Sub Inspector R. Shukoor was injured in the attack.
Soon afterwards when personnel from the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) arrived, the crowd prevented them from putting out the fire. The situation was brought under control with the arrival of police reinforcements. But when the FRS personnel doused the fire, the mob made another attempt to again burn the bus. This time the police resorted to lathicharge and the mob retaliated with stone-throwing in which Sasthamcotta Sub Inspector A. Abilash and three constables were injured. As the situation turned further tense, the mob dropped the plan to burn the bus again. Police have registered two cases in connection with the incidents. One was against the bus crew for rash driving resulting in the death of Sasidharan and Athira and the other against identifiable 500 persons for rioting, arson and setting the bus ablaze. Police said that the crew of the bus was absconding and that no arrests had been made till Thursday night in connection with both cases.