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regular-article-logo Saturday, 15 June 2024

Haryana: 6 students killed, 20 injured as school bus crashes into tree; principal among 3 held

Police said the driver was caught from the accident site and his medical examination confirmed he was under the influence of alcohol

PTI Chandigarh Published 11.04.24, 08:50 PM
Locals near a damaged school bus after an accident near Mahendragarh, in Narnaul district, Haryana.

Locals near a damaged school bus after an accident near Mahendragarh, in Narnaul district, Haryana. PTI picture.

Six children were killed and around 20 injured as their school bus crashed into a tree and overturned in Haryana's Mahendragarh on Thursday, with police saying they have arrested three people including the principal and the driver who was allegedly drunk.

State Education Minister Seema Trikha, who visited the injured students at hospitals, said a showcause notice has been issued to the private school to explain why it was open despite it being a holiday on account of Eid.

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The incident occurred near Unhani village in Kanina around 8.30 am when the bus was carrying around 40 children -- from primary to secondary classes -- to the G L Public School.

Dharmender was driving rashly due to which he lost control of the bus, which rammed into a tree and overturned, police said, citing reports.

"Six children have died in the incident and around 20 are injured," Mahendragarh Superintendent of Police Arsh Verma told PTI over the phone.

Police said the driver was caught from the accident site and his medical examination confirmed he was under the influence of alcohol. The police have also arrested school principal Deepti and one more school official whose name is Hoshiar Singh.

The heart-breaking scenes at the accident site moved one an all. Some of the students lay motionless in a pool of blood, while others, writhing in pain, cried for help. Some passersby rushed to help, and pulled out the children from the severely damaged bus.

An injured student told reporters that the driver was driving at a high speed when he lost control of the vehicle resulting in the crash. "The driver appeared to be drunk," he said.

Mahendragarh Deputy Commissioner Monika Gupta said the private school was open on Eid and the district education officer has sent a proposal to the state government for cancelling its recognition.

Transport Minister Aseem Goel said the state government has ordered a probe into the incident following the registration of an FIR. He also directed officials to check the fitness of all school buses.

He said the bus was fined recently as it did not have certain documents and the fact that it was still being used was a clear lapse on the part of the school authorities. President Droupadi Murmu said the death of schoolchildren was heart-rending. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it was extremely painful.

"My condolences are with all the families who have lost their children in this accident. Along with this, I wish speedy recovery to the injured children. Under the supervision of the state government, the local administration is engaged in providing all possible help to the victims and their families," Modi posted on X in Hindi.

Police said the school was functioning on a holiday in violation of rules. Besides, the school authorities had been informed about the bus driver's drinking habit. Some parents brought it to the school's notice even on Thursday that Dharmender was under the influence of alcohol, officials said.

They said an assistant secretary in the office of district-transport-cum-secretary, Mahendragarh, was also suspended after it came to light that the bus lacked certain documentation. The Additional Transport Commissioner (Road Safety) has been directed to conduct a detailed inquiry into the reasons for the accident and find out those responsible, said the officials.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP chief J P Nadda, Haryana Governor Bandaru Dattatreya, Chief Minister Nayab Singh Saini, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Randeep Singh Surjewala expressed grief over the accident.

A doctor at a hospital near the accident site, where the 20 injured children were taken to, told reporters that four of them were brought dead and one, who was put on ventilator support, succumbed to injuries.

After preliminary treatment, the injured students were taken to government hospitals and other centres including in the adjoining Rewari district, said officials.

In a post in Hindi on X, Chief Minister Saini said, "Deeply saddened by the accident of a school bus in Kanina, Mahendragarh. My condolences are with the bereaved families who have lost their innocent children. I wish speedy recovery to all the injured. The local administration was taking care of the injured." Bhupinder Singh Hooda also raised question how the school was functioning on Eid.

Former chief minister M L Khattar said the government will bear the expense of the treatment of the injured.

An FIR has been registered, he said, adding it is a big violation that the school was open despite it being a holiday on Thursday.

Minister Trikha told PTI that it was a very painful and sad incident. "A girl has suffered skull injuries," she said, pointing to one of the students injured in the incident.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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