When Santosh Maruti Mane, a state transport employee, went on a rampage for an hour on Wednesday morning, mowing down 8 people and injuring 27 others with a state bus over a 15-km stretch, residents of central Pune were convinced for a while that it was a terror attack.
It was only two hours later, when the Pune police commissioner Meeran Borawankar messaged "this is not a terrorist attack" that some clarity dawned.
A cloud of gloom descended on three different hospitals across the city as bodies of victims and persons injured in the incident were brought in.
"I saw the bus indiscriminately hit other vehicles," said an eyewitness, Dheeraj Suryawanshi.
Since the incident occurred early in the morning, many of the injured included office-goers and students. "I was going to office when a bus hit the auto rickshaw I was sitting in from the back," said Varsha Dhamale, 24, who has fractured her leg.
Sharif Ibrahim Kutti a third year student, was on his way to Poona College, when Mane's bus rammed into his bike. An angry Kutti chased the bus for a while, and when it slowed down at a particular stretch he finally climbed into it. Soon, Kutti entered the driver's cabin and caught hold of Mane, and with assistant police inspector Kundalik Kaykude's help Mane was restrained.
Jaisingh Sasane, relative of the deceased Pooja Patil said: "This is a gruesome act. Government should immediately take steps to act against Mane."
Shweta Oswal, 27, was a housewife. On Wednesday morning she had left home to visit the neighbourhood beauty parlour when tragedy struck her. Her brother-in-law Satish Jain, said, "We are baffled. We don't know what to make of it."
Rajendra Mule, brother-in-law of Ankush Tikone, 46, who too died in Wednesday's incident said, "He was the only breadwinner in the family. Mane should be hanged or handed over to public."