Two held for assault aboard city-bound bus

Kerala police on Monday arrested two employees of Suresh Kallada Tours and Travels in connection with the brutal assault of passengers aboard a Bengaluru-bound bus in the wee hours of Sunday.

Kerala Motor Vehicles Department is likely to suspend the permit of the operator as more complaints against the firm poured in.

Jayesh and Jithin, among those who attacked the passengers, were arrested by the Maradu police near Vytilla in Kochi. Another employee, Girilal, would be arrested soon, said a police source. 

Initially, only IPC sections 323, 324, 294 and 34 were invoked in the FIR, for causing hurt and abuse. Police further added IPC section 308 for attempt to commit culpable homicide and section 506 for criminal intimidation following allegations that the charges were weak. 

Kerala police chief Loknath Behera promised stern action against the accused. The permit of the bus would be suspended immediately according to Sudhesh Kumar, Kerala transport commissioner. The driver’s driving licence may be suspended too.

The concerned bus returned to Kerala from Bengaluru on Monday. It was taken into police custody for forensic examinations. Police seized the bus’ documents from the operator’s offices in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. Statements from other passengers in the bus will be recorded as well. The cops got in touch with entrepreneur Jacob Philip, who posted the video of the assault on social media.

Philip, who was in the bus, got threat calls from those associated with the operator.
 
Ajayagosh, one of the passengers who was hurt, is undergoing treatment at a Kochi hospital. He gave a detailed account of the incident, that was a sequel to the indifferent attitude of the bus operator, after the Bangalore-bound bus broke down early Sunday morning near Haripad in Alappuzha district. Three youths were roughed up by about a dozen employees of the tour operator as the youths protested against the delay in making alternative arrangements.

The operator, however, maintained that the youth started the attack by injuring the nose of a staff.

Various political parties on Monday staged protest marches to the offices of Suresh Kallada Tours and Travels at various places including Vytilla in Kochi.

Complaints abound

On Monday, a former Kerala legislator revealed his harrowing experience with the bus operator. Former MLA Abdurahiman Randathani alleged the bus operator behaved rudely when he and his friend questioned the delay of a special bus from Thiruvananthapuram to Kozhikode, for which they booked tickets at almost double the normal fare about a month ago. A college teacher in Thiruvananthapuram alleged that she and her daughter, along with a few other passengers, were once kept waiting for a bus indefinitely at midnight in Tamil Nadu.

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