Kerala: Kallada employees arrested for thrashing passengers

Kallada employees manhandled 3 passengers on its Bengaluru-bound bus on Saturday

kallada A screengrab from the video uploaded on social media | Manorama News

Four employees, including a manager, of private bus firm 'Suresh Kallada' have been arrested for manhandling three passengers on its Bengaluru-bound bus for seeking alternative arrangements after the vehicle broke down. Currently, only bailable offences have been slapped on them. More charges will be made only after taking the statements of the victims, the police said.

The incident happened on Saturday after Suresh Kallada's multi-axle AC intercity bus, which started at 10pm from Thiruvananthapuram to Bengaluru, broke down near Haripad in Kerala. The driver and cleaner left the scene, leaving the passengers in pitch dark. A war of words ensued between the passengers and the bus employees. Soon, Haripad police intervened and arranged a different vehicle for them to resume the travel.

However, the scuffle started as the bus reached Vyttila around 4am on Sunday. Some bus employees from Ernakulam barged in and started thrashing the passengers who raised their voices in Haripad. The youths were dragged out of the bus as they tried to retaliate. Though other passengers, including women and children, were woken up by the hustle, no one defended the youth. The bus continued on its Bengaluru trip without them. 

The incident came to light after Jacob Philip, a co-passenger, shot the incident on phone and shared it on social media from the bus itself. The youths were also thrashed by a 15-member group outside the bus, he said. Jacob started receiving threats over phone from Suresh Kallada after the post. The bus that was to reach Madiwala at 12 noon made it only by 4:20pm.

A case has been registered after one of the victims, Ajayaghosh, contacted the police over phone, said Maradu SI Baiju P. Babu. "The Kallada employees are a bunch of goons. They pelted stones at us," said Ajayaghosh. The employees allegedly took a phone, suitcase and Rs 1 lakh of cash from him. The police reached the spot in Vytilla and found all the three victims in an exhausted state. They were resting at a night tea stall near Vytilla masjid. Subsequently, they were sent to Thrippunithura Taluk Hospital for medical attention. But they did not turn up there or at any other local hospitals, the police said.

However, bus owner K.R. Suresh Kumar said the youth were the first to attack the cleaner. He has five stitches on his head. The youth attacked his Vytilla employees, too, Suresh alleged.

This story was first published in onmanorama.