Kerala Mayor VS KSRTC Driver Dispute: What Actually Happened?

By April 29, the Kerala Mayor VS KSRTC Driver Dispute captured national headlines. The incident also gained a political dimension as the CPI(M) and the Congress joined in to express their respective stances, further amplifying the controversy’s significance in the lead-up to the upcoming local elections.

Kerala Mayor VS KSRTC Driver Dispute Explained. Image showing Thiruvananthapuram Mayor Arya Rajendran and KSRTC bus driver HL Yadhu in front of KSRTC bus.

Thiruvananthapuram Mayor Arya Rajendran found herself embroiled in a fresh controversy on Saturday night as she reportedly blocked a Kerala State Transport Corporation bus after it failed to yield to her private car.

The altercation unfolded at Palayam in the city around 9:45 PM on April 27 when the bus driver allegedly prevented the Mayor’s private vehicle, accompanied by her husband, Balussery MLA Sachin Dev, and their relatives, from overtaking the bus.

The incident escalated into a heated argument between Mayor Arya Rajendran and the KSRTC bus driver HL Yadhu, prompting the police to intervene.

Consequently, a case was registered against driver Yadhu for reckless driving and misconduct.

Although the driver, Yadhu, was later released, the story began developing, and soon, the Kerala Mayor VS KSRTC driver dispute hit national headlines.

Later, the KSRTC bus driver Yadhu also filed a complaint with the police claiming the couple prevented him from completing the trip by blocking his way.

Kerala Mayor VS KSRTC Driver Yadhu Dispute Details

There have been conflicting accounts of the incident from both Mayor Arya Rajendran and KSRTC Driver Yadhu, with each presenting their version of events.

As the Kerala Mayor KSRTC Driver dispute gained traction, various narratives emerged, sparking intense public debate and scrutiny.

Mayor Arya Rajendran’s Account

According to Mayor Arya Rajendran, their vehicle attempted to pass the bus at Plamoodu, but the driver adamantly refused, resorting to displaying lewd gestures towards her and her sister-in-law seated in the rear.

Provoked by this behavior, the Mayor instructed their driver to overtake and block the bus at Palayam, leading to a heated altercation that disrupted traffic flow.

Arya clarified that the bus was only brought to a stop at the Palayam traffic signal junction, where she personally confronted the driver regarding his inappropriate gestures and reckless driving.

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Despite being at fault, the driver exhibited no willingness to offer an apology. Consequently, she felt compelled to proceed to the Cantonment police station to formally file a complaint against his misconduct.

“Upon witnessing further misconduct, I promptly reached out to Transport Minister KB Ganesh Kumar. Subsequently, a vigilance team and the Cantonment police intervened,” she recounted.

Bus driver Yadhu subsequently apologized, but she firmly declined to accept it, vowing to pursue legal recourse.

“This issue transcends my personal experience; it symbolizes the need to combat the pervasive humiliation endured by women,” she concluded, as quoted by TOI.

KSRTC Bus Driver Yadhu’s Side of the Story

CCTV Image of Thiruvananthapuram  Mayor Arya Rajendran's car blocking KSRTC bus driven by HL Yadhu
CCTV Image of Thiruvananthapuram Mayor Arya Rajendran’s car blocking KSRTC bus driven by HL Yadhu

Yadhu offered his perspective on the incident, asserting that it was the Mayor and her companions who displayed improper behavior.

He explained that the Mayor’s vehicle attempted to overtake the bus from the left side on a one-way road between Plamood and PMG.

Yadhu stated that he addressed the group without realizing that it included the Thiruvananthapuram Mayor and MLA.

According to Yadhu, he was operating on the Thrissur-Alappuzha-Thiruvananthapuram route and had already allowed two vehicles to pass the bus. The Mayor’s car was the third vehicle attempting to overtake.

However, due to the lack of space on the one-way route between Plamood and PMG, Yadhu could not accommodate the car’s attempt to overtake.

Despite this, the Mayor’s car proceeded to overtake the bus from the left and then abruptly stopped in front of it, obstructing its path.

Yadhu recounted that a young man emerged from the car and aggressively questioned him. In response to this disrespectful behavior, Yadhu defended himself. He noted that the Mayor did not speak or identify herself until that moment.

“She later inquired whether I knew who she was. Additionally, she threatened to have me dismissed from my position. I am uncertain about the security of my job tomorrow. However, I invite scrutiny of the CCTV footage. If any fault is found on my part, appropriate action can be taken,” Yadhu expressed.

Kerala Mayor VS KSRTC Driver Dispute Aftermath

KSRTC Driver Yadhu Temporarily Fired From His Job

Following the recent incident, KSRTC driver Yadhu was temporarily relieved from duty on Monday upon the directive of the District Transport Office.

He has been requested to appear before the DTO for a thorough inquiry. Yadhu, hailing from Nemom, serves as an empanelled employee within the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation.

Incident Takes Political Dimension

By Monday, April 29, the dispute between the Kerala Mayor and the KSRTC driver took on a political dimension.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M) expressed support for Mayor Rajendran’s actions. CPI(M) State Secretary M.V. Govindan emphasized the Mayor’s right to intervene and hold the driver accountable.

Leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) have asserted that the recent events, including protests and criticisms directed at Mayor Arya Rajendran, constitute a politically motivated attack.

With local elections looming next year, CPM leaders argue that these actions are aimed at undermining the Mayor’s credibility for political gain.

Conversely, the Congress-affiliated KSRTC trade union Transport Democratic Federation (TDF) accused the Mayor and the MLA of allegedly intimidating the daily-wage employee.

TDF working president M. Vincent demanded legal action against the duo and threatened to organize protests if their demand was not addressed.

Youth Congress Protests Mayor’s Actions

Indian Youth Congress activists stage a protest against Thiruvananthapuram Mayor Arya Rajendran
Indian Youth Congress activists stage a protest against Thiruvananthapuram Mayor Arya Rajendran. Source: WhatsApp

Thiruvananthapuram Youth Congress activists staged a march towards the Corporation office to voice their opposition to the actions of Mayor Arya Rajendran.

Erecting a prominent flux board bearing the warning ‘Overtaking Prohibited Zone, Beware of Mayor’, they underscored their discontent. Additionally, protest posters were prominently displayed on KSRTC buses, conveying their grievances against the Mayor’s conduct.

Transport Minister Delays Action on Bus Driver Yadhu

Despite increasing pressure from the CPM, Transport Minister KB Ganesh Kumar has declined to take immediate action against Yadhu.

The minister emphasized his intention to await reports from both the police and the KSRTC vigilance department before considering any disciplinary measures.

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Bus Driver Yadhu Plans High Court Appeal

KSRTC bus driver HL Yadhu is set to approach the High Court after his complaint against Thiruvananthapuram Mayor Arya Rajendran and MLA Sachin Dev was dismissed by the police.

Despite clear visuals showing the Mayor’s car obstructing the KSRTC bus driven by Yadhu, authorities declined to take action, citing insufficient evidence.

Frustrated by this response, Yadhu intends to escalate the matter to the Kerala High Court and is considering filing a defamation case against the Mayor and her MLA husband.

Ongoing Investigation

KSRTC Vigilance Department Interviews Eyewitnesses

Following Transport Minister Ganesh Kumar’s directives, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) vigilance department has initiated an inquiry into the incident involving Mayor Arya Rajendran and KSRTC driver LH Yadhu.

Eyewitnesses of the altercation have been interviewed, and statements have been obtained from passengers traveling on the bus from Thrissur to Thiruvananthapuram.

Phone numbers were collected for further investigation purposes. Moreover, the bus conductor has provided testimony in support of the driver.

According to sources, passengers allege that the Mayor and her entourage provoked the driver, disrupting their journey, which ultimately led to them being dropped off on the highway just two kilometers short of their destination.

It has been reported that MLA Sachin Dev boarded the bus and instructed passengers to disembark. Subsequently, the police arrived and informed passengers that the driver would be taken into custody.

Moreover, Mayor Arya Rajendran initially accused KSRTC bus driver LH Yadhu of being intoxicated during the altercation.

However, Yadhu’s medical report later confirmed that he was not under the influence of alcohol or any intoxicating substance at the time of the incident, debunking the Mayor’s claim.

Also Read: Nava Kerala Sadas Bus’ Transformation After Modification to Passenger Transport

Memory Card Missing from KSRTC Bus CCTV

On May 1, police retrieved the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) to analyze the CCTV recordings obtained from the bus.

However, upon meticulous examination, it was discovered that the memory card crucial for storing the footage was absent from the DVR.

A police official, speaking to Manorama News, underscored the significance of the missing 64 GB memory card, stressing that its absence poses a considerable obstacle to the ongoing investigation.

This glaring absence of pivotal evidence has prompted significant concerns and speculation regarding the integrity of the investigation.

Yadhu has publicly voiced suspicions surrounding the disappearance of the memory card, emphasizing that the recording indicator was visibly operational previously.

The KSRTC bus was outfitted with three Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras strategically placed to monitor various aspects of the journey.

However, none of these cameras managed to capture the alleged misconduct attributed to Yadhu, particularly the purported lewd gestures directed towards the Mayor and her companions.

The cameras were strategically positioned to oversee crucial areas such as the odometer, passenger compartments, and the traffic behind the bus.

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