Vandals set ablaze 36 buses of private travel company

Vandals set ablaze 36 buses of private travel company

Vandals set ablaze  36 buses of private travel company

Several unidentified people on Monday evening set ablaze as many as 36 buses belonging to KPN Travels India Ltd at Hosakerehalli, D'Souza Nagar in the city. The buses are owned by one K P Nataraj, resident of Salem in Tamil Nadu.

The buses were gutted in just 20 minutes, even before the Fire and Emergency services could reach the spot. 

An eyewitness told DH that more than 100 people barged into the KPN garage at 5.15 pm identifying themselves as pro-Kannada activists. They even assaulted the drivers and conductors without any provocation. Their plea for mercy fell on deaf ears," he said.

"The bus, which was stationed in front of the garage, had a number plate with Tamil Nadu registration. The protesters, who spotted this bus, turned violent and barged into the garage in large numbers. They used diesel in the buses to set the buses on fire. We could see buses being torched but were helpless," another woman said.

There were 40 buses in the garage. Of them, four buses, including two mini buses, were spared. Besides, the mob also chased drivers and conductors, who started running for their lives. A few, however, managed to hide in an under-construction building nearby," the eyewitness recalled.

KPN Travels, which has 400 buses, plies to Kerala, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Of them, 68 buses ply towards Tamil Nadu. The company, which has several depots in the city, purchased a 2.5-acre plot in D'Souza Nagar a month back, where these buses were set ablaze. The depot accommodates 52 buses and has a rest room for about 25 conductors and drivers. Each bus costs around Rs 40 lakh and is insured," manager Ansar said.

The group had tried to vandalise the garage on two different occasions on Monday. Later in the evening, as their numbers grew, it was a mob-like situation and spiralled out of control.

Deputy director, Fire and Emergency Services, S R Markandey said they could not reach the spot on time as the protesters had blocked their way. “We were informed by the garage officials. As many as 40 buses, including those owned by SRS Travels, were also damaged.

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