Passengers of a Kerala state transport bus were robbed by four knife-wielding masked men in the wee hours of Thursday morning at Channapatna, around 60km from Bengaluru on the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway.
The bus was travelling from Kozhikode to Bengaluru on Wednesday evening with 45 passengers.
All the passengers are reported to be safe, and left for Bengaluru on other buses.
According to reports, at around 2:30 AM, when the bus staff went to relieve themselves, the four men got into the bus and threatened the passengers to hand over their cash and valuables, including gold chains from two women. The attackers came on two bikes.
Sensing trouble, the driver rushed back but by that time the robbers had fled. The bus was brought to Channapatna Police Station. Senior police officials, including the Bengaluru SP arrived at the spot. A case has been registered.
"They (the robbers) spoke in Kannada. We have no idea who they are. They might be between 23 to 25 years of age. We have earlier heard that in that area such incidents happen. They kept the knives at the neck of some people and took their valuables. We were helpless as most of the passengers were sleeping. Suddenly it happened. I and driver had gone out to relieve ourselves. Suddenly they entered the bus," Mujeeb, the bus conductor told reporters.
Reacting to the incident, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan issued a statement.
"In the wake of the robbery incident on Thursday morning, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan asks Karnataka government to ensure safety of Kerala passengers to Karnataka. In a Facebook update, Pinarayi said: "Have asked the Karnataka government to ensure their safety. The accused must be brought to book. To ensure that such incidents do not happen in the future, preventive measures must be taken at the Kerala-Karnataka border. The Kerala police will stay vigilant."
The CM also said that Kerala DGP Loknath Behera held discussions with his Karnataka counterpart and that the state has asked Karnataka government to extend necessary assistance to the passengers who were robbed," read the CM's Facebook post.