Around seven truckers were robbed off about Nu 1,80,000 and their mobile phones
l Tandin Wangchuk, Thimphu
Armed with knives, two people robbed seven Bhutanese truckers in the past 10 days at Dalsingpara, which is about 13 kilometers away from Phuentsholing, along the West Bengal highway in India.
Apart from looting cash amounting to over Nu 200,000 and mobile phones, the two had also beaten up the drivers.
“I was heading towards Ethelbari to transport bricks last Sunday, September 3, 2017 when a bike tailed me after crossing Dalsingpara. As they rode past me, one of them signaled me to slow down. And when I pulled over my truck, they climbed up and held me at knife point. They said I had hit and ran over a child and I was trying to flee,” said Choki Dorji, adding that the incident occurred at around 11.30 AM.
“When I protested, they slapped me numerous times and threatened to kill me. They said that if I do not give them money, they would slice my throat. And fearing that they might resort to the worst possible act, I gave them my wallet. I had Nu 117,000 in it and they also snatched my mobile phone,” he added.
That same evening, another trucker, Bikash Subha was travelling towards Alipur to transport goods when two men stopped and robbed him.
“They overtook me and pulled over the bike in front of me, forcing me to halt. Then both of them climbed up and hit me several times on my face. They said I had hit a child and asked money for the treatment. When I refused to give them my wallet, one of them grabbed me by neck and the other guy snatched it from my pocket,” said Bikash Subha, adding that he had Nu 50,000 in his wallet.
The day before Choki Dorji and Bikash Subha were looted, the alleged goons robbed Biru Tamang another Trucker, at the same place.
“They stopped me and asked for money. When I refused, they hit me and took away my purse. I had Nu 10,400 in it,” said Biru Tamang.
A few days later, another truck driver, Norbu, was robbed. He said that they took Nu 2,500 and his mobile phone. “They frisked my whole body but I had nothing valuable other than the money and phone,” said Norbu.
Among the persons that fell victim to the bandits was a 27-year-old Tashi Wangdi. He too was on his way to Ethelbari when he was looted at by the same goons around the same locality on Thursday.
“They accused me of trying to flee after hitting and running over one of their villagers. To save my life, I gave them whatever I had in my wallet,” said Tashi Wangdi.
When asked if they had lodged complaints to the police, one of them said he had informed the Jaigoan police that very evening. “After all of us met, we filed a joint complaint on September 3 to the Phuentsholing police,” Choki Dorji said.
According to Tamang, a truck driver, this is not the first time. “We are at the mercy of Indians living along the highways because we have to travel through their places. It happens almost every month in different places in Assam and West Bengal and we have no idea when this will be stopped,” he said.
The victims are hopeful that the perpetrators will be brought to justice and that the issue will be raised in the next inter-governmental meeting so that such incidences do not occur in the future.
Meanwhile, police officials are investigating the case.