The staff of a private traveller in Kerala are seen beating up two passengers and forcing them out of the bus early on Sunday morning, in a video that is going viral on social media. The passengers were going from Haripad in Alappuzha district of Kerala to Bengaluru, and had a heated exchange with the driver of the bus the previous night, according to other passengers. The staffers of the private traveller, Kallada Travels, then decided to assault the two men.
On Saturday night, a Kallada Travels bus started from Haripad to Bengaluru. However, it broke down around midnight, soon after the journey had started. A passenger on the bus, Jacob Philip, wrote about the incident on Facebook: â€śThe passengers on the bus were stranded without any clear answers from the drivers on what we should expect for safety of women, and girls on the bus. Several people got angry with the bus driver, asking for an alternative on how to get to their final destination which is a 14 hours bus ride.â€ť
The driver informed the passengers that a mechanic would arrive soon, but the passengers were getting exasperated waiting on a road without any streetlights, Jacob said. â€śTwo young boys got aggressive wanting some answers, and questioned the driver for some honest answers,â€ť Jacob said. An hour later, the two men took the driverâ€™s phone and called Kallada office and had a heated exchange with them.
Some passengers then called the police, and officers from the Haripad police station came to the spot and asked the bus driver to arrange for another bus. Another bus was sent to Haripad about two hours later. The passengers boarded the new bus and were taken to the Vytilla office of Kallada Tours. Jacob, who had by then dozed off, was woken up a little past 4 in the morning to noises in the bus.
Four Kallada employees had entered the bus and were slapping and hitting the two young men. A video shared by him shows four men thrashing the two young men, and then forcefully throwing them out of the bus.
The video shows a group of men surrounding the two passengers and asking them to get out of the bus. One of the men can be heard repeatedly shouting, â€śDonâ€™t touch me. I paid Rs 1,000 and am traveling in the bus. Donâ€™t raise your hand on me.â€ť
Throughout this exchange, Kallada employees can be seen slapping the passengers multiple times and asking, â€śDid you think you can get away after hitting the driver?â€ť The passengers were then forcibly removed from the bus. Jacob wrote that one of the attackers was the driver and they also forced a few other passengers who had questioned the inefficiency of the bus company to get down.
The incident occurred around 4.30 am on Sunday, according to Jacob.
A Kallada staff member TNM spoke to did not deny the incident. He said that the bus had been brought to the Vytilla office and their staff had assaulted the two passengers in retaliation to the passengers assaulting the driver and cleaner. â€śThey hit the cleaner on his nose and he is still in hospital. Our staff got angry with them,â€ť the staff member said.
He further claimed that the video wrongly suggests that it was the bus staff who were the aggressors. â€śThe two had first attacked our staff and it was in retaliation that they were forced out of the bus,â€ť he claimed.
In the video however, the two young men can be heard saying that they had not hit the driver.
Police is yet to make any arrests in the case.
â€śWe have not registered a case in the incident as both parties have not come forward to file a complaint. No probe has taken place yet but the bus operator said that the two passengers were aggressive and hit the conductor of the bus. We have not verified this information. Following this, all passengers were shifted to another bus and after it reached Vytilla, a bunch of people from Kallada travels came to beat up the passengers. We asked both parties to come to the station today, but they have not turned up,â€ť an officer at the Maradu police station told TNM.