The police have ordered the seizure of two multi-axle luxury buses owned by a private bus firm, after widespread public outrage over a group of people associated with the firm brutally attacking three Bengaluru-bound passengers, in front of its branch office at Vyttila early on Sunday morning.
District Police Chief (Kochi City) S. Surendran said that the Maradu police, under whose jurisdiction the attack took place, had been directed to seize the two buses of Kallada Travels and also record the statements of the passengers who were attacked. The passengers, the people who unleashed the attack and the firm’s Vyttila branch manager had been directed to appear before the police, he said.
The Maradu police said that a case had been registered after one of the passengers from Thiruvananthapuram gave a complaint. The police said though they reached the spot and arranged a vehicle to take the injured passengers to Tripunithura Taluk Hospital, the passengers preferred to get treatment elsewhere.
The attack was reportedly the aftermath of passengers protesting against the delay in the arrival of a substitute bus for the one that broke down at Haripad late on Saturday night. The passengers, who included women and children, were agitated as they were stranded on the unlit national highway.
A public-spirited fellow passenger recorded the visuals of the attack and posted it online, within 30 minutes of the incident. This went viral on Sunday, with even media outside Kerala carrying detailed news items along with the video.
When contacted, the Vyttila branch manager of Kallada Travels said that the bus was on its way from Thiruvananthapuram to Bengaluru, when it broke down in Haripad. He said they tried to arrange an alternative bus from the locality, but drivers were not available. A bus was then sent from Kochi to transport the stranded passengers. Three passengers picked up a quarrel with the crew of the bus which broke down at Haripad, saying there was delay in arranging alternative transit. They also attacked the cleaner, who had to be hospitalised, he claimed.