At least 39 pilgrims were injured, five of them seriously, when a goods carrier they were travelling in overturned and rammed into a private bus at Dhaliara in Dehra subdivision on the Dharamsala-Hoshiyarpur National Highway, 50 kms from here, on Monday.
Eyewitnesses informed that at 1pm on Monday, the driver of the goods carrier, which had been made into a double-decker to increase the occupancy, lost control over the vehicle while negotiating a sharp curve and rammed into the bus coming from the opposite side.
Passengers of the bus had a close shave as it moved backwards on the steep descent but stopped after ramming into a hillock, sources said.
Sources informed that the pilgrims were on their way to the Jawalamukhi shrine in Kangra district after paying obeisance at Chintpurni temple in Una district. Rescue teams and locals rushed the injured to the civil hospital in Dehra.
The five passengers, who were seriously injured, were referred to Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College at Tanda. The five injured were identified as Lada Singh, Avtar Singh, Gurdeep Singh, Jagtar Singh, and the driver Chinda Singh.
All the 39 injured, who were identified as natives of Ajnala of Amritsar, Punjab. The injured included nine women, four children and 26 men. ASP of Kangra, Shiv Kumar, said a case had been registered against the driver of the goods carrier and investigations were on.
Lakhs of pilgrims from neighboring states visit Himachal Pradesh during the monsoon season to pay obeisance at several Hindu shrines. The influx of pilgrims has increased manifold since July 27 owing to monsoon navratras at these shrines. Despite being banned in the state, pilgrims continue to travel by goods carriers. The police are unable to keep a check on the same as the pilgrims often travel in groups.