In yet another incident, a rashly-driven Bhutanese vehicle on Saturday mowed down a bike-borne youth on National Highway 127 at Ansali under Simla police station in Lower Assam’s Baksa district.
The deceased has been identified as Pranjit Das, 23, of Bornalikuchi village under Patacharkuchi police station in Barpeta district. Sources said Pranjit, a grocery shop owner, had gone to Ansali market for some works.
According to eyewitness, Pranjit, who was riding a scooter, died on the spot when the speedy Bolero pickup van coming from Namlang in neighbouring Bhutan hit him from opposite direction.
The driver of the Bhutan-registered vehicle, after hitting the scooter, managed to escape, police officials said. All the nearby police stations have been alerted to intercept the killer vehicle.
The fatal accident sparked off massive protest in the area after the incident. Hundreds of angry locals gathered at the area and blocked NH 127 in protest against the incident. They demanded that the killer driver from Bhutan should be punished as per the law.
During the last 25 days, this is the second incident of a Bhutanese vehicle killing innocent Indians on the roads in Assam. A Bhutanese truck on May 20 mowed down a motorcycle-borne youth at Milanpur along the Indo-Bhutan border in Assam’s Barpeta district.
The locals at Simla and other villages complained that the Bhutanese vehicles get entry into the Indian Territory without any documentation and often injure and kill Indian people on the roads.
“We don’t understand why Indian government is allowing the killer Bhutanese vehicles to ply in Assam,” Nagen Das, a local resident said, adding that people will soon have to stop the vehicles to enter Assam.
Though Bhutan is totally dependent on Assam for surface communication, it is surprising that the Royal Government of Bhutan could not discipline its drivers to obey traffic rules and drive carefully on the busy roads in Assam. As there is no internal road connectivity in Bhutan, vehicles always use Assam roads to travel from one district to another.
“When India is helping Bhutan so much, we don’t understand why the hooligan drivers don’t have respect for the Indian citizens on the roads in Assam,” Rajib Kalita, a school teacher said, adding that totally blocking Bhutan vehicles will be the only solution to the issue.
The local villagers said they would soon take up the matter with the local legislators and ministers of Assam and force them to convince New Delhi to totally block entry of “killer” vehicles from Bhutan.
“We will forget that Bhutan is a friendly neighbour if their vehicles continue to behave in such a manner on the road,” Kalita said, adding that trucks from Bhutan are always overloaded, and damage the roads in Assam.
The locals complained that Bhutanese officials at all the entry points behave rudely with Indians and often don’t allow Indian vehicles to enter. “If they (Bhutan) are so strict about our entry, we also should do the same to them,” one of the villagers said.