86-yr-old feels sorry for BEST conductor who was suspended for insulting her

Aug 22, 2013, 10:15 IST | Nigel Buthello

Sumati Samant, the 86-year-old who was humiliated aboard a BEST bus by a conductor who snatched her freedom fighter's card, was sympathetic towards him; she added that officials should ensure such incidents do not occur in future

An overly punitive reaction to an act of humiliation this 86-year-old woman suffered at the hands of a bus conductor is something she is praying he does not get.

Gushing regrets: A day after MiD DAY reported on how a BEST conductor insulted 86-year-old freedom fighter Sumati Samant, BEST chairman Nana Ambole visited her and apologised for the incident. File pic

MiD DAY had reported (‘86-yr-old told she can’t ride on BEST bus with freedom fighter pass’, August 2) how Sumati Samant, who has been part of the freedom struggle, was yelled at by a BEST conductor for using her freedom fighter’s pass to travel. But she says she hopes that officials let him keep his job.

Click to view: 86-yr-old told she can't ride on BEST bus with freedom fighter pass
MiD DAY’s report on August 2

Following the incident, Samant filed a complaint with the Wadala bus depot and was called in on Wednesday to identify the conductor and also record her statement about the incident.

Accompanying Samant to the depot, her son Dilip said, “We went to Wadala depot at 10.30 am and the meeting with the officials lasted for approximately 40 minutes. As soon as the conductor was called in, my mother immediately identified him as the man who humiliated her. She had no doubt about him.”

Elaborating further on the meeting, Dilip added that the entire time they were in the room, the conductor did not apologise for his actions. “In fact, the conductor’s representative apologised on his behalf.”

Additionally, a complaint sheet was presented to the conductor, who neither denied his actions nor asked any other questions about the incident.

Asked what kind of punishment did the 86-year-old hope the conductor would receive, she said, “His actions are done. Now, hopefully the officials will take action against him. I pray they don’t take his job away as he may have a family to support,” said a sympathetic Sumati, adding that officials should, however, ensure such incidents don’t occur again.

Virendra Bagul, PRO of the BEST, said, “Sumati Samant was called to Wadala bus depot in order to record her statement regarding the incident that occurred with her in the bus. Investigations are in process and once we have confirmed that the conductor is guilty, we will take the necessary action against him.” 

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