Agartala-Dhaka service suspended after bus attack
Agartala: The bus service between Agartala and Dhaka has been suspended after India's 'Maitree' passenger bus between the two cities was burnt by an angry mob in Bangladesh Friday, officials said here Sunday.
"The Agartala-Dhaka bus service has been suspended temporarily following Friday's incident. The service is expected to resume after an inquiry into the incident and other necessary formalities," a Tripura transport department official told a news agency.
"A team of Tripura government officials would visit Bangladesh to probe the incident and to talk to police and officials of that country," he added.
The Dhaka bound 'Maitree' passenger bus, run by Tripura Road Transport Corporation, was torched by an angry mob at Narsindi in central Bangladesh Friday. According to Bangladesh media reports, the incident was a fallout of a clash between two local political groups.
Narsindi is 50 km northeast of Dhaka and 45 km west of Agartala.
All the 22 passengers and one of the three crew members were safe. The driver and conductor of the bus sustained minor injuries.
Of the passengers, 12 were Indians and the rest were Bangladeshi nationals.
Tripura Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar Panda spoke to the acting Indian high commissioner in Dhaka, Sandeep Chakravorty, and requested him to provide assistance to the passengers.
"The Indian high commissioner, after gathering necessary information from the Bangladesh government cabinet secretary, told Panda that all the Indian passengers and crew members of the bus were safe," the Tripura transport department official added.
"The incident is an isolated and a stray occurrence, not targeted at the Indian bus or passengers," the Tripura government said in a statement.
The Kolkata-Dhaka bus service, the first direct surface communication between the two neighbouring countries, was initiated in July 1999 while the Agartala-Dhaka bus service was launched in September 2003.
The government-owned transport corporations of Bangladesh, West Bengal and Tripura are operating the bus services.
Meghalaya and other state governments of the northeast have also proposed to launch similar bus services between their states and important cities of Bangladesh.