A speeding Blueline bus mowed down seven people in New Delhi on Sunday in the worst such disaster blamed on the "killer" fleet, sparking mob fury that halted all traffic on the highway to Agra and forced the police to fire tear gas. The dead included five women, a child and a man.
Eight others, including some who were crossing the road, were injured when the bus ran into a crowd while trying to overtake a stationary Delhi Transport Corp (DTC) bus from the wrong side at Aali Goan, near Badarpur.
The gory scenes of mangled bodies on the road sparked mob fury as hundreds of passers-by stoned the killer bus and tried to set it ablaze and then blocked the Mathura Road that links Delhi with Agra and beyond.
When the police intervened, the mob, by then about 3,000-strong, stoned the security personnel too fuelling clashes. Outnumbered, the policemen used batons and fired tear gas. <b1>
The Blueline bus, on route 460, was going from Badarpur in the southern-most point of Delhi on the border with Haryana. It was approaching the traffic signal at Ali Gaon when the driver decided to overtake the DTC bus from the wrong side in an apparent attempt to grab passengers.
In the process, he lost control of the vehicle, which ran over a group of people standing by the pavement and some crossing the road. The incident occurred at around 9:30 am.
The bus driver tried to flee but was caught by passers-by and almost lynched. The police took him into custody. Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat promptly blamed the accident on brake failure.
The injured were admitted to hospitals where their condition was reported to be stable. On the streets, people abused the Blueline fleet and the authorities for failing to end their killing spree. "Why does this happen again and again? Innocent lives are taken because of these Blueline buses, yet no measures are taken against them. We want justice," said a man at the spot.
Sunday's accident takes the number of people killed by the rampaging Blueline buses in the capital this year to 93.
The Delhi government ordered an enquiry into the incident and cancelled the permit of the bus.
In a recent interview, Delhi Police chief YS Dadwal told IANS that taming Blueline buses was not his priority.
"We can't monitor every single Blueline bus plying on Delhi's roads. Over five million vehicles travel in the capital daily and we have other important traffic related priorities to look after. Managing the vehicular flow and prosecuting law offenders is more important," Dadwal had said.
The capital has some 4,000 Blueline buses, which form a crucial part of the city's public transport system. Known as the "killer fleet", these privately owned buses claimed over 100 lives last year.