Seven-year-old Jiya Juneja, who was hit by a speeding van after she was allegedly dropped on the wrong side of the road by her school bus, died on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday. She had been in a coma since the accident that took place in Gurgaon on May 9.
Jiya, a Class III student of Ryan International School in Gurgaon, had suffered swelling in the brain and had been under constant supervision in the intensive care unit of Medanta. According to hospital sources, Jiya stopped responding to treatment on Tuesday.
“She went away too young for not fault of hers. Will the school bring our girl back,” said one of her grieving family members.
Jiya’s father Pankaj Juneja had accused the school of not following safety norms and alleged that the bus that dropped Jiya had neither a conductor nor an attendant. Her parents had claimed that school authorities initially refused to extend any help for the girl’s treatment but later agreed to pay for it.
Principal of Ryan International School Peeya Sharma did not respond to repeated calls. A senior school official told The Indian Express that regular prayer meetings had been organised for Jiya after the accident. The school remained shut Wednesday.
School authorities had earlier refuted allegations of negligence and claimed that Jiya had been dropped on the same side of the road where she was dropped every day, only a few metres ahead of the designated spot.
However, the teacher who accompanied the students in the bus to ensure that all of them reached home safe, has been suspended. The teacher had admitted that she had let go of Jiya’s hand after another student called out to her from inside the bus. She said Jiya had rushed to cross the road as her mother was waiting on the other side, when she was hit by the van.
Meanwhile, police have detained the driver of the school bus and are looking for the driver of the van that hit Jiya. “On Monday night, Vinod, the driver of the school bus, surrendered in Old Gurgaon’s Sector 5 police station,” said Shailender Kumar, station house officer of sector 5 police station. The driver of the van is absconding, said police, adding that he has been booked under sections 279 (rash driving), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life) and 338 (causing grievous hurt) of IPC.
“We are trying to find CCTV footage of the incident to identify the driver of the van,” said assistant commissioner of police Hawa Singh.