| The bus in the ditch near Gaya on Monday. Picture by Suman |
Gaya, Feb. 18: Eight pilgrims were killed when their bus careened off a bridge and fell into a ditch off the Nawada road early this morning.
The driver of the bus, on its way to Bengal’s Purulia district from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, lost control and hit guardrails near Mount Litera Zee School at Kaiya village on Gaya-Nawada road around 7.30 this morning. Gaya city superintendent of police Akhtar Hussain said the bus, carrying around 50 pilgrims, jumped off the Hubli road bridge by breaking its guardrails and fell into the 15ft deep ditch.
Three pilgrims died on the spot — around 8km east of Gaya town and around 130km south of Patna — and four others died at Anugrah Narayan Medical College and Hospital (ANMCH). According to reports, a person succumbed to his injuries on way to the hospital where 21 others are undergoing treatment.
The deceased have been identified as Ramakanto Kumar, Yamuna Kumar, Sadhu Baba, Vijay Ajmal, Virendra Kumar, Chanchala Kumari, Parvati Kumari and Lakhiya Kumari.
The injured were rushed to the nearby Manpur primary health centre (PHC), from where doctors referred 24 of them to the ANMCH.
In another accident, a dumper crushed a Class IX student, Chhotu Kumar of Baradih village, to death on the same road. Villagers blocked the road near Lakhanpur for four hours from 10am.
Following the accident, a mob turned violent and not only attacked the police personnel but also snatched three rifles from the men in uniform. However, the firearms were retrieved following intervention by some villagers. Police had to fire four rounds in the air to control the mob.
Wazirganj deputy superintendent of police (DSP) M.K. Anand and two assistant sub-inspectors of Mufassil police station Nagendra Singh and Yogendra Singh received injuries during the clash.
Gaya Sadar sub-divisional officer (SDO) Paritosh Kumar said the local villagers started pelting bricks on the police after the accident. They also staged a blockade on the road with the body. SDO Kumar said the police had to fire in the air to control the situation. On the basis of videography done by the police, five persons have been arrested.