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Mishap kills 2 kanwariyas

Hazaribagh, July 31: A bus carrying around 45 kanwariyas from Bihar turned turtle on the GT Road in Hazaribagh this afternoon, killing two and injuring around 40.

The accident took place when the driver, Raju, dozed off at the wheel at Kosma in Barkatha, some 65km from the district headquarters, around 1.30pm on way to Rajgir in Bihar from Puri, Odisha.

One of the kanwariyas, Binod Shah (38), died on the spot. Local residents rushed all the injured to Barkatha primary health centre. Around 15 victims with serious wounds were shifted to Hazaribagh Sadar Hospital, where another kanwariya, Darshan (28), was declared brought dead.

The condition of other pilgrims is stated to be out of danger.

Assistant sub-inspector Bhagwan Das from Barkatha police station reached the spot soon, while local MLA Amit Yadav visited the health centre and directed officials to take proper care of the injured.

“The driver was exhausted. He had been driving for the past few days and fell asleep at the wheel, leading to the accident,” Das said. The driver fled the scene fearing arrest.

Speaking to The Telegraph one of the injured kanwariyas, Trivani Sharma, said they had embarked on a pilgrimage tour from Bettiah district of Bihar on July 23. They first went to Baidyanath and Basukinath in Deoghar, followed by Tarapeeth in Bengal. From Tarapeeth, they went to Puri earlier this week.

“From Puri, we were supposed to go to Rajgir and Bodh Gaya, before ending our journey at Bettiah on August 3. We were on the way to Rajgir when we met with the accident,” Sharma said.

Another injured Vibhuti Tiwary said the driver was very tired after covering such a long distance over the past one week.

“We cooked and ate food at Nimiya Ghat in Giridih before resuming our journey this morning. And then the accident happened in the afternoon,” he added.