The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Minister convoy crushes boy

Patna, Oct. 6: Mohammad Taslimuddin today left Kishanganj, his home constituency, after a week of felicitations. His motorcade also left behind a lifeless, little body.

Ten-year-old Raju was crushed under the wheels of the Union minister's escort vehicle on National Highway 31. The accident occurred around noon in Faringola, about one-and-a-half kilometres from Bihar's Kishanganj town and near the border with Bengal.

The RJD leader, said to be on his way to Bagdogra airport near Siliguri to catch a flight to Delhi, reportedly passed by ignoring an angry crowd's protests, aided by his gun-wielding security personnel.

'Why didn't the minister at least stop to take a look at the boy and say a word to us' a source quoted a witness as saying. Angry villagers later blocked the highway for nearly three hours and police could clear the blockade only after senior officers intervened.

Sources said the crowd's fury was further fuelled by the rumour that some politicians were sitting with garlands inside the vehicle that crushed the boy.

Kishanganj sub-divisional officer Shankar Chowdhury, however, said it is not clear if one of the five cars of the minister's convoy was involved. 'The minister was on his way to Bagdogra and it was coincidental that the 10-year-old boy, Rajib Chohan, was run over at the same time,' he said.

Kishanganj RJD chief Mukesh Gupta said it was the car of the district magistrate's personal assistant, but local BJP leader Rajesh Baid insisted it was one of the vehicles in the convoy. 'We rushed him to MGM Hospital in Kishanganj where doctors pronounced him dead,' he said.

The district magistrate is reported to have promised Rs 2,000 as compensation. Taslimuddin's personal assistant P. Jha said the minister learnt about the incident only after reaching Bagdogra. 'He has asked the district administration to give Rs 10,000 as compensation,' Jha said from Delhi.

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