HYDERABAD: In a ghastly accident, three students lost their lives, while several of their schoolmates were left injured in Rajanna Sircilla district on Wednesday. The students, belonging to the Vaageswari Talent School in Vemulawada, were on their way to their hostel for lunch when their vehicle rammed a divider and overturned. The students, aged between seven and 15 years, were trapped under the vehicle. The deceased were identified as 15-year-old Kasaram Mani Chandana Rani, eight-year-old Gogulothu Deekshita, and seven-year-old Gogulothu Rishith.
In less than five minutes, the children would have been happily eating their lunch in the hostel as they did every day, but fate had something else in store for them, and that came in the form of the accident.
The mishap allegedly occurred due to negligence of the driver. Moreover, the 18-seater school van was carrying 28 students at the time of the accident.
As the driver, Md Raffeq lost control of the van and rammed a divider, the vehicle overturned, leading to the girls coming under it. According to preliminary investigations, Raffeq crashed as he was looking at a vehicle transporting Ganesh idols meant for the Ganesh Chathurthi festival.Soon, the place reverberated with the cries of the children trapped under the van, and traffic came to a standstill.
While the injured children screamed in pain, those who sustained minor bruises were left in a state of shock. People carrying Ganesh idols rushed to help the children. Rajanna Sircilla Superintendent of Police Rahul Hegde said that prima facie it looks like overspeeding and negligence of the driver led to the accident.
Families of deceased stage protest
Emotional scenes were witnessed at the Sircilla district government hospital, where the injured children were admitted. Parents of the deceased children were inconsolable on seeing their bodies, while other parents were running around the wards searching for their children. All the injured children are out of danger and have been discharged from the hospital after first aid, said sources in the hospital. The parents and relatives of the children thronged the hospital. As Health Minister Eatela Rajendra arrived at the hospital, the parents and relatives staged a protest. The minister assured them of justice.
Govt promises Rs 5 Lakh ex-gratia
The State government announced `5 lakh aid to the relatives of the children who lost their lives and cheques of `2 lakh were immediately distributed to their parents. Sircilla MLA KT Rama Rao also inquired about the incident and directed the authorities to provide all possible help.
The school and hostel began operations on one campus in Vemulawada, but the school was recently shifted for renovation. As the hostel could not be accommodated on the same campus, another building was rented on the outskirts. The school approached the education department for permission to shift the school and the request was being processed. Parents of the children were also reportedly not informed about the shifting of the hostel to a different campus. Inquiries revealed that the van had no valid fitness certificate.