Four people were killed and 32 injured when a light commercial vehicle, Tata-407, fell into the Sirhind canal near Jhamluti village, on the Rupnagar-Chamkaur Sahib road, 19 km from here, on Wednesday. Police sources said that the driver lost control over the vehicle, which rolled down into the muddy area of the canal at around 1 pm.
The devotees were returning after paying obeisance at Naina Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh in the vehicle (Registration number PB 10AN-3832).
Nineteen of the injured were taken to the Rupnagar civil hospital and 13 were admitted to a Chamkaur Sahib hospital from where five of them were referred to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) Chandigarh, where one of them succumbed to his injuries.
The deceased have been identified as Harpreet Singh (13), migrant labourer Pappu (40), Harpreet Singh (26) and Sukhwinder (age unconfirmed), residents of Shahbazpur village near Raikot in Ludhiana.
Residents of surrounding villages rescued the devotees from the canal. A passenger Gurpreet Singh, one of those injured, claimed that the driver, Lakhbir Singh, lost control over the vehicle due to high speed. The driver, however, claimed that the front wheels of the vehicle had jammed.
Rupnagar DSP (detective) Manmeet Singh visited the spot and supervised the rescue operations. The driver has been booked under sections 279 (rash driving or driving on public way); 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 304-A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code.
The injured devotees include Balbir Singh, Mohan Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Kamlajit Singh, Jagtar Singh, Manjit Singh, Balwinder Singh, Kulwinder Singh, Jagdeep Singh, Jiwan Singh, Harjit Singh, Swaranjit Kaur,Mukhtiar Singh, Lakhwinder Kaur, Parminder Kaur, Gurbir Singh, Mandeep Kaur,Bikar Kaur, Beant Singh, Manjit Sharma, Santa Singh, Karamjit Singh.