Scholar dies in car crash

Alipurduar, Dec. 4: A former college principal who had devoted his life to the promotion of the Rajbangshi language and culture died in a road accident near Kumargram this morning.

Ambika Charan Choudhury, 82, was on his way from Bongaigaon in Assam to attend a seminar on Rajbangshi in Cooch Behar when his car collided with a bus. Four others in the car suffered serious injuries and are undergoing treatment in a hospital in Bongaigaon.

Choudhury, a recipient of the Chila Roy award instituted by the Assam government, had written several books on the Rajbangshi language and culture. He was the principal of Bongaigaon College.

The linguist left Bongaigaon for Cooch Behar to attend the seminar organised by North Eastern Koch Rajbangshi Language, Culture and Literacy Research Organisation.

Kamal Kanti Barman, Kamalesh Barman, both from Fakiragram, and Atul Kashyop of Gosaigaon, were with him in the car. When the car reached Tetultala on NH31C near Kumargram in Jalpaiguri district, it collided with a private bus coming from the opposite direction. Sanjib Choudhury was driving the car.

"The bus was about to take a right turn to go to Khamakhyaguri. The car driver couldn't control speed and it smashed into the bus. The bonnet of the car was stuck under the front portion of the bus in the crash. We extracted the injured persons from the car and took them to Alipurduar Subdivisional Hospital," said Santosh Barman, a witness.

Choudhury died on the way to the hospital. The condition of the four others was critical and they were shifted to Bongaigaon Hospital. Tetultala is 24km from Alipurduar.

The seminar was cancelled midway and the organisers rushed to Alipurduar. "Choudhury was a great scholar and had written 26 books in Rajbangshi, English and Assamese languages. He devoted his life for the development and promotion of Rajbangshi," said Promod Chandra Barman, one of the organisers.

"Koch Rajbangshi Around the World, Koch Rajbangshi Sanskriti and History and Biswabir Chila Roy Sahitya Pratibha are some of his books. From 1950, Choudhury had been the backbone of the Rajbangshi language movement. His death is a great loss for the community."

Choudhury is survived by his wife, daughter and son.

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