|The motorcycle, which the brother-sister duo were riding, at Booty More in Ranchi on Saturday and (above) Tanushree’s school identity card. Pictures by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi, Aug. 9: A day before Raksha Bandhan, a brother-sister duo, on way to school on a motorbike, died after coming under the wheels of a truck at a waterlogged stretch of NH-33 that has seen similar accidents in the past.
Seventeen-year-old Rahul Deo, alias Sunny, a Class XI student of Metas Seventh Day Adventist Higher Secondary School, and his sister Tanushree Kumari (15), who studied in Class X at DAV, Nandraj, used to go to school together on a bike.
Rahul, who rode the bike, would first drop Tanushree at her school, which is in front of his own school.
Today was no different.
The siblings, whose parents are away on a visit to Baidyanath Dham in Deoghar, set out from their rented residence at Sainik Colony around 6.45am. Rahul had covered barely half a kilometre towards Booty More in the Sadar police station area when an auto suddenly came in front of his bike and stopped, causing him to lose balance.
“The boy and his sister fell down from the bike in the middle of the road in front of Maa Pitambra Palace. Within seconds, an empty truck came from behind and ran over them, killing them on the spot. They were not wearing helmets,” said T.K. Tripathi, a retired captain of the Indian Army, who witnessed the accident.
A police constable deputed at the spot, Bimlesh Sharma, said that the truck driver fled but the vehicle was apprehended.
“The truck has been seized and sent to Sadar police station. The bodies have been sent to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences for post-mortem,” he added.
The accident triggered protests with local residents blocking NH-33 for half an hour from 10am, demanding compensation for the victims’ family. A section of them blamed the perils posed by a waterlogged NH-33 during monsoon for the twin tragedies.
“Faulty road construction is responsible for the accident. As the sides of the highway are waterlogged, the auto driver tried to park his vehicle in the middle of the road to drop passengers and came in front of the bike. If the vacant space along NH-33 was used by vehicles, the accident could have been averted,” said K.N. Gupta, an armyman.
He pointed out that a divider or a roundabout was the need at the spot.
“Three roads meet NH-33 at the accident spot. Similar incidents took place in the past too, but those were minor. Today’s fatal mishap proved how dangerous the stretch has become,” Gupta said.
SP (city) Anoop Birtharay said that an FIR had been registered against the truck driver for reckless driving. The role of the auto driver is not being probed as of now.
Principal of DAV-Nandraj Gurmit Kaur expressed condolence. “Tanushree was a bright student, soft-spoken and hardworking. She was one of the leading participants in the Independence Day programme. We will declare the school shut on Monday. On Tuesday, a prayer will be held.”
The deceased’s father Bharat Roy works with a private contractor.