Part III: Continued from Part II:
Two auto-rickshaw drivers are mysteriously killed on the road over a period of two days. They both were driving at crowded places when they were killed & lost control over their respective vehicles. The passenger of the first auto-rickshaw, Maanvi Sharma, potentially provided a clue of a bike driver being the suspect. The investigating police sub-inspector D. K. Gowda has received the postmortem reports of both the driver’s bodies & they corroborate Gowda’s thought that both the killings are related & done by the same person.
Early morning the next day, a constable walked over to Gowda’s desk and handed over an envelope to him. It was addressed to the Adugodi police station and had arrived by post. Gowda turned it over to see the post-office’s seal on it. It read “Koramangala Post Office” and was posted the day before yesterday, that is – on the day of the second murder. He slit open the envelope and pulled out a paper which some pieces of paper stuck on it. The pieces seemed to form a message created by using printed words cut and pasted in a sequence to form the sentences, and read:
The two auto drivers were killed because they were rash drivers and had almost got me hurt or killed on the road. I was barely saved, others may not be so lucky, so I killed them to save the others. I do not want to hurt or cause worry to any passengers and I will do my best not to hurt them. As passengers, they should act responsibly and stop the auto drivers from rash driving and/or breaking traffic rules. Henceforth any rash auto drivers I encounter, will be shot dead… INSTANTLY. Enough is enough! All auto drivers should strictly follow the traffic rules, obey the signals, show respect to other drivers on the road and drive safely; IF THEY WANT TO STAY ALIVE!
Gowda noticed that the words were cut out from newspaper or magazine articles and cleanly glued on a plain paper in the correct sequence to form the sentences with appropriate punctuation marks. The sentences seemed grammatically accurate, opening up the possibility of an educated & professional person ‘writing’ it!
He thought, “Its quite likely that the bike rider that Maanvi’s reported could’ve killed these two. The reason fits now, though a petty one, but his frustration on auto-rickshaw drivers seems to be on the last stage, not allowing him to ignore/forgive!”
Alongwith the motive behind the killings clarified, the person also seemed to be inspired from Kamal Haasan’s movie “Indian“, where a veteran freedom fighter (Senapati) takes upon a task to ‘clean’ the corrupt government departments by murdering all the corrupt government employees found harassing the public.
Gowda thought, “What will he or she do next? There are close to a lakh auto-rickshaws in Bangalore. A majority of them, rather all of them, break the traffic rules day in and day out. The killer doesn’t even wait for any explanation or reasoning and just shoots down an offending auto-rickshaw driver. He or she seems to be an extremely frustrated person, possibly had some very bad experience with auto-rickshaw drivers. He or she seems to be a regular traveller between Adugodi & Koramangala, quite likely working at Koramangala, as the murders were done in the morning when typically people are on their way to the office. We need to patrol that road thoroughly and even caution *all* the auto-rickshaw drivers in Bangalore about this. What is the best way for me to do that?…”
As if in answer to his question, a few crime reporters rushed in and thronged Gowda’s desk. They started asking him for more information about the two auto-driver murders. Gowda told them that the investigation was in progress and that he had just received an anonymous note from the killer. He told them that both murders were linked and done by the same person, as per the note. On insistence from the reporters, he showed them the note from the killer.
The next day, all the newspapers carried this story on their front page with pictures of the killer’s note to the police and with the regular sentimental masala about the murdered auto-rickshaw drivers’ families & their conditions.
The auto-rickshaw drivers in Bangalore started to panic, with many of them not plying their vehicles that day. Later during that day, the Chief Minister visited the families of the auto-drivers and promised them a cash compensation of Rs.1 Lakh each from the government. He also faced the other auto-rickshaw drivers’ ire over the murders.
The auto-rickshaw drivers’ union representatives also confronted the chief minister, and threatened the CM with an auto-rickshaw strike on the next day, if the killer wasn’t caught. They blamed the inability of the police to secure “innocent citizens” in broad daylight.
The CM tried to pacify their anger, saying the police are investigating the case on priority and that they were tracing the clues to the killer. He said, the killer will soon be caught and put behind bars.
He also asked them to communicate to all the auto-rickshaw driver unions & all their members to maintain their calm and not to break any traffic rules. They should all avoid provoking the killer, until he or she is traced & nabbed by the police.
A couple of days later, with three more auto-rickshaw drivers shot dead – the situation wasn’t in Gowda’s (or rather anyone’s) control. The auto-rickshaw driver unions had called for a second day strike today to oppose the murders, and there were very few auto-rickshaws plying today. Those auto-rickshaws on the road, were driving very carefully – taking care not to offend any other drivers. They had suddenly turned very polite and stopped quarrelling with any other drivers & passengers.
Gowda’s station got an urgent message from their central communication department reporting an accident involving two cabs (taxis) on the old airport road.
Gowda thought, “Oh my god! Now what? Cab drivers?? They *are* the rudest lot on the roads!”
(End of Part III)
Go to Part IV