Thenhipalam, Malappuram: It seems the now infamous Kallada bus employees have not learned any lesson from their past experiences wherein several of them were booked by police in April for assaulting passengers after arguments over silly issues.
As if the brutal attacks on passengers were not bad enough, now driver of a Kallada long-distance bus has been nabbed on Thursday by the police near Thenhipalam in Kerala's Malappauram district following a complaint filed by a woman passenger for misbehaving with her. The driver's license has been cancelled.
The alleged incident took place when the Kannur-Kollam sleeper bus reached Kozhikode at 1.30am on Thursday. The woman, who hails from Tamil Nadu, boarded the vehicle at Kannur to travel to Kollam.
After the woman sought help from other passengers, they handed over the driver, Johnson Joseph, 39, of Puthuppally, to the police. He is the stand-by driver of the bus. The Thenhipalam police have seized the bus.
Following a complaint received at the control room, the police had arrived at Kakkancheri near Calicut University campus. But by the time, the bus had left the spot. The passengers told the staff of the bus to take it to the Thenhipalam police station which they complied. A police team waiting for the bus near the station has taken it into custody and shifted the passengers to another bus. They resumed the journey on another company's sleeper bus.
The Kallada Travels had hit headlines two months ago after passengers of one of their buses heading from Thiruvananthapuram to Bengaluru were beaten up by its employees for protesting the crew's failure to make alternative arrangements after their vehicle broke down near Karuvatta near Haripad in Alappuzha district.
Passengers Ajaya Ghosh, Sachin and Ashkar were thrashed for questioning the delay in arranging an alternate vehicle. After the bus reached Vyttila in Kochi around 4am on Sunday, a few Kallada employees from its Ernakulam base barged in and assaulted the passengers again. The youths were dragged out and dumped on the roadside and the bus continued its Bangalore trip without them. The incident came to light after Jacob Philip, another passenger who was witness to the scuffle, recorded it on his phone and shared it online.
Seven of its employees were arrested following the incident and the owner of the buses, Suresh Kallada, was interrogated by the police. As a ripple effect, Kallada bus agency was fined for violating various legal requirements later.