A day after five labourers were crushed to death by an angry truck driver who ran them over for revenge, police claimed that the victims were not the ones he intended to kill.
Four labourers from the same family in Rajasthan, and one from UP, were killed after the accused, allegedly drunk at the time of the incident, mowed down the victims in their sleep. Three others were critically injured in the attack near the Sector 26 traffic signal.
A few hours before the incident, another group of labourers had stopped the truck driver, Sarma Chaudhary, from urinating near they were cooking.
“Those who stopped Sarma from urinating near their place of cooking and assaulted him were not among those who were sleeping on the pavement,” one of the investigating officers said.
Those killed in the incident included Jasu Ram (55), his son Naatu Ram (21), nephew Sardara Ram (50) and his son-in-law Jagdish (23).
Meanwhile, family members of the deceased arrived from Rajasthan to claim the bodies. They said the deceased had been coming to Chandigarh to sell fenugreek seeds for the last 25 years.
“A month ago, we came to Chandigarh from Nagaur district of Rajasthan to sell fenugreek seeds. Five days ago, I left for Pathankot to sell seeds, while my relatives chose to stay back. I cannot believe that they are no more,” Hazari, a boy in his 20s, said.
“I was told by another person who was present at the accident spot that a labourer from Bihar got into a fight with a truck driver after the latter urinated near the area where he was eating. The truck driver then threatened to kill him. My family members were not aware about the argument but they became its victims,” he added.
According to the relatives of the deceased, Jassu Ram is survived by three daughters and two sons. They said the wife of Naatu Ram, one of the victims, was five-month pregnant. While Saradara Ram had four daughters — all below 10 years of age, Jagdish had one son and two daughters, the relatives added.
“They have little children back home. Who will look after those children now? Naatu Ram’s wife is five months pregnant; we do not have the courage to inform her,” Hazari said.
Upinder Kharwal (25) was among the three who survived. But doctors said his right leg was fractured and he might need to undergo a major surgery. The other two injured in the incident are Kamlesh Kumar Gupta (22) and Raghav Tiwari. While Upinder and Kamlesh are undergoing treatment at the GMCH, Raghav was discharged from the hospital Tuesday.
Recalling the incident, Upinder said, “ At around 1am, a speeding truck came and ran us over. We shouted and screamed for help as we were unable to move. There were dead people lying next to me, but I could barely move my limbs.”
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