‘Killer’ school buses claimed three lives in Punjab on Friday. Two bicycle-borne schoolgirls were run over by a speeding school bus near Hariewala village under Baghapurana sub-division, 40 km from Moga. In Jalandhar, a four-year-old boy died after he fell off a school bus as the door was left open and he was run over by it.
The deceased girls were identified as Lovepreet Kaur of Class 9 and Sandeep Kaur of Class 10. The bus driver fled from the spot. Four girls, namely Kuldeep Kaur, Jyoti Kaur, Navdeep Kaur and Sarabjit Kaur, were seriously injured. Villagers rushed them to the Moga civil hospital, where their condition is said to be stable.
Police said the girls from Hariewala village were on their way to the high school at Mahla Kalan village when the mishap occurred.
Jagga Singh, sarpanch, Hariewala village, said, “We called up ‘108’ for the government ambulance, but none reached the spot. Then, we hired private vehicles for carrying the injured to hospital.”
After the post-mortem, the bodies were handed over to the families. A case was registered against bus driver Rupinder Singh, a resident of Kothe Gurupura village, at Baghapurana police station on the statement of Jaswinder Singh, Lovepreet’s father, under Section 279 (rash driving) and other sections of the Indian Penal Code.
Cops left parts of body at the spot
In the Jalandhar incident, Aarush Arora, an LKG student of Innocent Heart School and a resident of Kailash Nagar, was sitting near the entry door of the bus that was taking 15 students home after school hours. As per passersby and eyewitnesses, when the speeding bus reached Gurdwara Ramgarhia, near Patel Chowk, it got a jerk due to a speedbreaker. The boy fell out as the entry door was left open and the bus ran over him, they said.
Shockingly, police personnel left parts of his body at the accident site, with crows feeding on them, after the body was taken to the civil hospital for a post-mortem examination.
An eyewitness, Santokh Singh, said the bus driver and conductor tried to flee, but were nabbed by people after a brief chase.
Santokh said they took the boy to the Tagore hospital, where he was declared brought dead. On getting information about Aarush’s death, his father Chandan Arora reached the hospital and collapsed on seeing the body. He was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of the hospital.
Aarush was the only son of Chandan Arora, who is in the hand-tool business. Ironically, Aarush’s sister Prachi had her birthday on Friday.
Bus driver Jagdeep Singh, a resident of Bashirpura, and conductor Mandeep Singh, a resident of Bhojewal, were taken into custody by the police after they were nabbed by people. A case was registered against them.
Meanwhile, the police have found that the school bus violated several guidelines issued by the Supreme Court. It was plying without a valid permit, without mandatory speed governor, lacked other valid documents, and the conductor was not in uniform.
Deputy commissioner of police Naveen Singla confirmed these violations. On policemen’s negligence in leaving parts of the body at the spot, he said it was insensitive conduct and he would look into the matter.
SC guidelines on school buses
Should be painted yellow
‘School Bus’ must be written on the back and front of the vehicle. If hired, ‘On School Duty’ must be mentioned
Should have first-aid box, fire extinguisher, qualified attendant
Should be fitted with speed governor of specified standards
Driver should have at least 5-year experience in driving heavy vehicles