A bus allegedly owned by the Badal family knocked down and killed two persons, who were on a motorcycle, in Baddowal, Ludhiana, on Thursday. An irate mob later set the bus on fire.
The father-son duo were travelling from their home in Baddowal to Ludhiana city. Hardev Singh, 60, died on the spot while his son Harmeet Singh alias Manjit, 24, was taken to hospital where he succumbed to injuries.
There was no name of any company written on the bus. However, Ludhiana rural SSP Opinderjit Singh Ghuman claimed that the bus belonged to Dabwali Transport company. “As per our initial probe, the bus was owned by Dabwali. As the vehicle is gutted, it is tough to determine. But we are in the process of confirming if it is of Dabwali or Orbit,” he said.
The family of the deceased, however, claimed that it was of Orbit. Both Orbit and Dabwali buses are co-owned by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Congress MLA and deputy CLP leader Bharat Bhushan Ashu, along with Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, reached the spot and allegedly did not allow police to move the torched bus from the spot. Later, AAP leader H S Phoolka also reached the spot and demanded registration of FIR against the owners of the bus for hiring “inexperienced drivers and running killer buses on the roads of Punjab”.
“This is unacceptable. First the Moga Orbit incident and after that, multiple accidents have taken place. Why is that in majority of such accidents, buses are those belonging to the Badals and people get killed? It is because they are unprofessional and their employees think they own the roads. We demand registration of FIR against Badals,” alleged Ashu.
The Congress and AAP also demanded compensation for the family and said a committee would be formed including the people of Baddowal to decide further course of action.
They added that family would take final decision over cremation of bodies after post-mortem. “We are with the family at every step,” said Bittu. Protests were held at the spot and workers of Congress and AAP blocked Ludhiana-Ferozepur national highway. There were heavy traffic jams till Westend Mall and Aggar Nagar. The police diverted the traffic through villages. The protest was lifted around 8.20 pm and the highway was cleared for traffic movement. Ashu said the cremation would be done on Friday if the administration announces compensation and a government job for a family member of the deceased. “Otherwise, protest will start again at 4 pm Friday,” he said.
Phoolka also accused the police and district administration of gross negligence and insensitivity.
“It has been hours since accident and till now they have failed to confirm if bus is of Dabwali or Orbit. In any case, it is owned by Badals. We will support family in their next step. This is not the time to play politics,” he alleged.
Dakha DSP Ajayraj Singh said an FIR was registered against the bus driver, who was absconding and was yet to be identified. Another police officer claimed that the father-son were driving on the “wrong side” of the road, leading to the accident. The bus was going from Ludhiana to Bathinda.