The vehicle that killed nine schoolchildren (six girls and three boys) in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district on Saturday belonged to a BJP leader from Sitamarhi, police officials said. The BJP leader, Manoj Baitha, was reportedly inside the Bolero when the accident took place on NH 77 and escaped along with his driver after the incident, IANS reported. The RJD was quick to pounce upon the ruling JD(U)-BJP combine and sought strict punishment for those behind the deaths.
The accident took place around 1.30 pm when school got over and students were crossing the highway to reach Dharampur village on the other side. A truck coming from Muzaffarpur and going towards Sitamarhi first hit and injured a woman. The driver of a speeding Mahindra Bolero vehicle, coming from the opposite direction, lost control, probably to avoid running over the injured woman and hit the schoolchildren. About a dozen other students were reportedly injured, and are being treated at Muzaffarpur’s Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital.
On Sunday, Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav visited the injured and met the families of the victims. He alleged that the driver of the vehicle was drunk and asked why no arrests had been made so far. “The vehicle has a BJP board attached to it and the driver was drunk at the time of the incident. BJP leaders are totally drunk in power,” he said.
The victims were children of either daily wage workers and marginal farmers and students and parents have been demanding relocation of the school owing to its location near the highway. Protesting parents and local residents blocked traffic on the stretch for several hours after Saturday’s accident, while IANS reported that some people also vandalised the school and set ablaze the infrastructure.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expressed grief over the incident and announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the next of kin of each child killed in the accident.