LUCKNOW: "We were shouting and alerting driver uncle to stop the van as we were seeing the train approaching us but he didn’t as he was very busy on phone and was not able to listen to us, " said Krishna Verma, 9, one of those seven fortunate survivors of the fateful school van into which a moving Gorakhpur bound train dashed killing over a dozen school children on tracks of an unmanned crossing in Kushinagar district on Thursday morning.
At least 13 children died on the spot and around seven injured, some grievously, when the moving train number 5507 passenger hit a school van around 7.30 am at Bahpurva railway crossing of Dudhi railway station under Vishnupura police station area in Kushinagar district on Thursday.
However, contrary to earlier reports about the death of van driver along with children, Gorakhpur DM Vijyendra Pandiyan stated that he was alive and was battling for life at Baba Raghavdas Medical College in Gorakhpur in critical condition. All the injured were referred to BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur after being given initial medical aid at Kushinagar district hospital.
The speeding school van, a Tata Magic, was carrying 20 children of Divine Public School at Dudhi Bazar.The injured included, Talib, 7, Roshni, 9, Samir, 7, Krishna, 9 and van driver, 25.
Following the accident, school's manager-cum-principal was taken into custody, said DIG (Law and order), Praveen Kumar.He added that an FIR was lodged against school management under different
sections of IPC including Section 304 (culpable homicide). However, a high-quality powered probe under the supervision of Gorakhpur Divisional Commissioner was already underway.
Krishna is a class third student and received leg injury while most of the other survivors including the driver sustained head injury. “Driver Bhaiya took the van close to the train and when I regained consciousness, I was sitting among others who were lying on the ground and were immovable. Somebody took me to a hospital and then I was taken to another hospital from there,“ Krishna said in a state of shock undergoing treatment at Baba Raghavdas Medical College in Gorakhpur.
According to chief public relation officer Sanjay Yadav of North Eastern Railways, train number 5507 passenger was headed to Gorakhpur from Sivan and it dashed into a Tata Magic school van carrying more than 20 children in the age group of 7- 10 years at unmanned crossing number 45 which fell under Varanasi division.
Expressing deep shock and sorrow over the mishap, CM Yogi Adityanath rushed to Kushinagar to share grief of the bereaved families. He visited the accident site where he faced the anger of wailing parents and other agitators who were sitting on the tracks demanding manned crossings.
Even though the CM tried to pacify the agaitating families while trying to interact with them through loudspeaker, they were not ready to listen a single word. Consequently, CM Yogi gave up murmuring
'nautanki mat karo' (don't dramatize).
This, however, provided ammo to already hostile opposition to attack the chief minister highlighting his alleged insensitive approach to as heart wrenching an event.
The CM went to BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur to take stock of the treatment being provided to those injured in the accident. He also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to next kin of the victims.