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Six Children Killed in School Bus Accident, Principal, Secretary, Driver Held

Six Children Killed in School Bus Accident, Principal, Secretary, Driver Held

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NEW DELHI, Apr 11: The principal, the school secretary and the driver of the bus have been arrested following the gruesome accident of a school bus killing six children and injuring about 20 others and raising the question why was the school open on the public holiday on account of Eid.

The accident occurred on Thursday morning in Mahendragarh in Haryana where the school bus hit a tree and overturned and the police said the driver, who had allegedly jumped out of the bus just before it rammed into a tree, was drunk. A senior police official said the medical test conducted on the driver has confirmed that alcohol was present in his bloodstream.

Fourteen of the students who were hospitalised after the accident have been discharged but three are stated to be critical. Many of the parents and locals are also asking why the school remained open on Eid, a public holiday.

Students from Class 4 to 10 were heading to the GL Public School on Thursday when the bus carrying them rammed into a tree and overturned. The bus belonged to the school and documents showed that the bus’ fitness certificate had expired six years ago, in 2018. A state road transport official has been suspended for failing to control vehicles running without proper valid documents.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Mahendra Rana said, “A case has been registered under sections of the Indian Penal Code dealing with culpable homicide not amounting to murder and others. Sections of the Motor Vehicle Act have also been applied because the fitness certificate was not valid. The driver, Dharmendra, the principal, Dipti, and a staff member, Hoshiyar Singh, who was a secretary and looked after the buses and other such matters, have been arrested.”

To a question on local residents claiming that, half an hour before the accident, some of them had stopped the bus and informed the school authorities that the driver was drunk, the police officer said the statement of the person who made the claim has been recorded. He also revealed that a challan had been issued against the bus recently.

State Education Minister Seema Trikha said an inquiry was being conducted to establish why classes were being held in the school on Eid, which is a holiday. “The school should not have been open today. A show-cause notice has been issued and, apart from that, we have taken self-affidavits from private schools. The schools will have to provide an affidavit stating that transport vehicles used by them are following the transport rules,” she said.

Asked who bears the responsibility for such a tragedy, the minister said the schools and the bus owners will be held accountable along with the driver. “If (school bus) drivers are found to be drunk, schools will be held responsible. In such cases, FIRs will be filed against the driver, the school’s principal, and the bus owner.”

(Manas Dasgupta)


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