Four children were killed and 19 others sustained injuries when a speeding mini local train rammed into their school bus at an unmanned railway crossing at Kot Mehtab village near Beas in Amritsar district around 7.15 am on Monday.
The deceased sisters Manpreet Kaur (16) and Sehajpreet Kaur (13),Komalpreet Kaur (12) and Palakpreet Kaur (9) and the injured were the students of Sant Majha Singh Karanjot Senior Secondary School at Baba Bakala. All the deceased were residents of Bulenangal village.
The mini local train was moving from Beas railway station to Goindwal when it rammed into the school bus near Baba Bakala at Kot Mehtab Singh village. A mini train is a single-coach train in the shape of a bus.
Two of the injured students,who were brought to the Amritsar Civil Hospital claimed the driver,Milkha Singh,had earphones on when the train rammed into the bus. We all started shouting when the bus was a few feet away from the railway crossing. But the driver did not listen to us and kept on driving. He had earphones on, said Harpreet Singh (11),a Class VII student and brother of Manpreet and Sehajpreet.
Despite students raising an alarm,the driver kept on driving and the train hit the bus. After that I do not remember anything, said Preet Kamal Singh (13),Harpreets classmate.
When asked about the allegations,Government Railway Police (GRP) ASI Surinder Singh said: We have investigated this angle,but the school principal and co-driver of Milkha Singh claimed he did not have any hearing problem. Anything conclusively could be said only after we take Milkha Singh into custody. He is said to be undergoing treatment at some hospital. We do not know where at this point. The GRP have registered a case against Milkha Singh under sections 279,304,337 and 338 of the IPC.
The one-bogey train was running behind schedule by nearly an hour. There were no trees along the track that could have disrupted the drivers vision, said a police officer.
Among the 19 injured,four students were brought to the Amritsar Civil Hospital. Dr Balbir Singh,who attended to them,said that barring a minor head injury to nine-year-old Navdeep Kaur,the rest were out of danger. The other injured were being treated locally,said sources.
Meanwhile,the state government has announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh each to the family of the deceased. It will also bear the cost of treatment of those injured.
Two had said goodbye to uncle just before crash
Amritsar: Hours before they boarded the ill-fated school bus,one of victims,had asked her father to buy her a two-wheeler so that she doesnt have to to travel by bus.
Last night,Komalpreet asked me to buy her a two-wheeler to go to school, an inconsolable Amrik Singh,who drives an auto-rickshaw to earn a living,said. Another victim,Palakpreet Kaur,was already planning for a week-long holiday that was to begin after school on Monday.
My daughter told me in the morning that she will not take lunch to school,as it was a half day and she will be back by afternoon, Palakpreets father Joginder Singh,said. She told us that from tomorrow,there was going to be a weeks holiday, Joginder,a farmer said,bursting into tears. Sukhdev Singh,who lost two of his daughters,still cant believe that the duo wont come back home. Moments before the train rammed into their school bus,the girl wished goodbye to Sukhdevs brother Manjit Singh who was coming from the opposite side of the road in a makeshift vehicle carrying other school children. They didnt know that it was to be their final goodbye, said an inconsolable Sukhdev,who works as Auction Recorder at Market Committee Adampur,Sehajpreet (one of the sisters) had prepared tea for the family in the morning before boarding the bus, he added.