A three-year-old boy was crushed to death by a school bus in outer Delhi’s Shahbad Dairy area Thursday morning, triggering mob violence during which a 20-year-old vendor of groundnuts allegedly died in “police firing”.
Police denied the groundnuts vendor, Wasim, died in firing by them, and said 17 of their personnel were injured while trying to control the rampaging mob that set a police motorbike on fire, and vandalised at least six vehicles.
The police claimed their personnel had fired in the air. “The policemen opened fire in self-defence as they were attacked by the mob,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (outer) Vikramjeet Singh.
Violence erupted after the child, Aditya, was run over by the school bus at about 8.30 am. Aditya, who lived in Holambi Kalan’s Phase-2, was going to get shampoo from his grandmother’s kiosk just metres away from his house, said residents of the area.
“After being hit by the bus, he fell on the ground, but the driver did not even stop the vehicle. The bus crushed his head. He died on the spot. It happened in front of my eyes,” said Aditya’s grandmother, Kamla Devi.
The driver tried to flee, but was cornered by residents who beat him up before informing the police, said sources. At least 25 students were in the bus when the violence started building up, added the sources.
Devendra, a resident of the area, said a PCR call was made at about 9 am. “A police van came after a few minutes, but it returned after seeing a huge gathering of angry locals. A few minutes later, a team of about 10-12 policemen from the local police station came to the spot and took the body of the boy. They also took away the injured school bus driver,” added Devendra.
Sources said even as the police conducted an inquiry, irate residents took the bus — from which the students had been asked to get down to a park nearby — and threatened to set it on fire. This led to clashes between the residents and the police, added the sources. “Police lathicharged the people, who threw stones at the police,” said the sources. Among the police personnel injured was an assistant commissioner of police, said a source.
Ashwini, another resident of the area, said, “Outnumbered, the police officials started running towards a railway crossing and, in the meantime, opened fire. I was standing with my friends and Wasim was next to me. A bullet hit Wasim,” he added.
Sources said a few residents rushed Wasim to hospital. Even while clashing with the police, the mob threw stones at passing trains, added the sources.
Minutes later, nearly 200 police personnel arrived and surrounded the locality. “It was only when teargas shells were used that the crowd dispersed and the situation came under control,” said a police officer.
Two cases, one of rash and negligent driving, and another of riots and arson, have been filed at the Shahbad Dairy police station. Bodies of Aditya and Wasim were sent for autopsy.