Bus drivers strike in Delhi over road-rage death

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Bus drivers in the Indian capital went on strike on Monday leaving thousands of commuters stranded following the beating to death of one of their colleagues in a weekend road-rage incident.

Drivers of state-run buses stopped work in the capital of 16 million to demand strengthened security for staff and more compensation for the colleague allegedly killed by an enraged motorcyclist with his helmet on Sunday.

According to local reports, 42-year-old Ashok Kumar grazed the man's motorbike with his bus in an accident in Delhi, prompting the deadly attack watched by passengers and passersby.

Police are also investigating whether the motorcyclist, who has been arrested, used a fire extinguisher kept inside the bus to beat the driver, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

"We want the Delhi government to compensate the victim's family ... And our on-duty staff should be guaranteed proper security," Delhi Transport Corporation general secretary Tara Chand told CNN-IBN news channel.

"If the government agrees to our demands, then we will call off our strike and start operating as usual. No problem," Chand added.

The Delhi government has offered 500,000 rupees (S$10,435) as compensation to Kumar's family and the city's transport minister has sought a report into the incident.

Scores of commuters, including office workers and schoolchildren, were seen stuck at bus stops or converging on foot to metro stations.

More than four million commuters depend on a vast network of red and green state-run buses daily to reach different corners of the sprawling city.

Incidents of road rage are common on Delhi's traffic-clogged roads although such deadly attacks are rare.