Four men accused of harassing two schoolgirls, who were seriously injured when they jumped out of a bus, were arrested in Jamshedpur on Sunday.
“All the four accused have been arrested. We will crack down on eve-teasing and road Romeos with an iron hand. Police officials have been asked to keep a close vigil on mini-buses and autos and act tough,” said Anup T Matthew, senior superintendent police of Jamshedpur.
Police arrested Kanhu, the conductor of the bus, on Saturday night after nabbing the two main accused, Uttam Mahato alias Rohit and Raghavendra Tiwari alias Putus, from Mango-Dimna road. They were picked up on the basis of leads provided by the driver of the bus, Jeetu.
Police said the main accused were bus drivers by profession and friends of Jeetu and Kanhu. Police also seized the bus and filed a case against the four accused in Sakchi police station.
One of the girls, a class 10 student of ADL Sunshine School, is recovering from a serious head injury at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College Hospital (MGMCH) while the other, a class 9 student, is being treated for hand injuries. There was a third girl in the bus who managed to escape unscathed.
The incident happened when the three girls from Daiguttu area of Mango were returning from the school in Sakchi on board the bus at around 1:30pm on Saturday. Uttam and Tiwari were beside the driver and as soon as the bus left the Sakchi bus stop at 2:15pm, the duo started abusing the girls.
The girls complained to the conductor and requested the driver to stop the bus but no one paid any heed. Their ordeal continued as other passengers chose to be silent spectators. The girls then jumped out of the moving bus near Hathi-Ghoda temple at 2:30pm because of the harassment.
Traffic deputy superintendent of police Vivekanand Thakur said a dress code for bus drivers, conductors and auto drivers will soon be implemented so that they can be easily identified and tracked. “We need to act decisively and we will,” he said.
Data shows how dangerous the roads of the Steel City have become. Last year, the city registered 47 incidents of harassment and it has recorded 26 such cases so far this year.
“We want a speedy trial and exemplary punishment for these scoundrels. Such crimes by auto drivers, bus drivers and conductors are becoming a regular affair. It’s horrifying to think of what (would have happened) if the girls didn’t jump off! We people should be more sensitive and responsive in such situations,” said Bharat Vasani, vice president of the Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry.