The Mamata Vahan set afire by angry students of Adarsh College in Giridih on Thursday. Picture by Tausheen Rubbani
Hazaribagh, July 5: A Plus II student died in hospital and another survived with burns after they were struck by lightning at Adarsh College in Giridih, sparking off anger against the principal and a road blockade for over three hours this afternoon.
Ashish Yadav (20) died minutes after he was brought in an autorickshaw, along with Bablu Sharma (22), to a referral hospital. Students alleged that college principal Sushil Kumar refused to offer his car to take the victims to doctors soon after they met with the mishap around 1pm on campus at Rajdhanwar, 7km from the district headquarters.
Bablu, who had come for admission to Part I, is undergoing treatment at the hospital, 3km from the college. He was said to be out of danger.
Around 1,000 students rose in protest immediately after the incident and blocked the busy Saria-Rajdhanwar road until 4.15pm. They lifted the blockade only after district officials promised compensation of Rs 1 lakh for Ashish’s kin.
A set of doctors and nurses had also fled from the hospital, fearing students who were angered by Ashish’s death. But they returned after policemen reached the hospital.
Some students returned to the college and searched for the principal, who had escaped with a few employees. They demanded Kumar’s dismissal. The agitators who gathered in hordes on road targeted a Mamata Vahan — the referral vehicle that ferries pregnant women from their homes to hospital — which was passing the stretch.
The students overturned the vehicle and set it ablaze. An ambulance that had been sent from the referral hospital after the authorities were informed of the mishap, but it was also not spared by students as they damaged the vehicle.
The agitating students refused to budge until the administration announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to Ashish’s family and promised to install a lightning conductor on the college campus.
They alleged that had the principal offered his car on time, Ashish could have been saved, adding they were delayed by close to an hour.
Block development officer Binod Kumar and circle officer Sadat Anwar reached the college with a posse of policemen to pacify the students. Apart from damages to the victim’s kin, they also promised to install a lightning conductor at the college and press for the principal’s dismissal.
In another incident, Budhan Mahto (34), a daily wage labourer, and his wife Sahodari Devi (27) were killed when a bolt of lightning hit their mud hut at Kulgo in Dumri police station area of Giridih this afternoon. The couple’s two-month-old son survived. Police later sent the bodies of the deceased to Giridih sadar hospital for post-mortem.