It was the morning after the accident on the Saha-Shahbad highway about 15 km from here in which 11 school children died, and the villages of Pasyala and Sabga were in mourning.
Six of the deceased students of Arjun Public Senior Secondary School belonged to Pasyala village, four to Sabga and one to Dinarpur, all in the age group of 5 to 8 years.
Heartrending wailings rent the air every now and then, and relatives and friends huddled together with the inconsolable families of victims. In Pasyala, one family lost three children on Monday morning when a speeding truck could not spot the school van carrying 30 children due to the thick fog cover and rammed it.
Parmod and his wife Santosh, lost both their sons, Rahul, 7, and Rishabh, 9. The small-time mechanic in his late 40s has fainted several times ever since he learnt about the tragedy. His elder brother Vinod, who works at a seeds’ factory in nearby Saha industrial town, and his wife Sunita, also lost their only son Lavish.
Sabga residents Raj Kumar and his wife Seema also lost both their sons Ashish, 7, and Shivam, 4, to the accident.
An uncannily self-composed Raj Kumar kept reliving the morning of the accident when the two boys had hurriedly gulped down their milk, picked up their tiffin boxes and rushed out, as usual, for school. “Yeh bahut julam ho gaya hai ji (this is very unfair),” said Ranjit, a relative of the couple, adding that no one in the village had slept or eaten since Monday.
The absconding driver of a truck, which had hit a school van resulting in the death of 12 students of a private school here, was arrested on Tuesday, police said. A case had been registered against the driver identified as Subhash, who had escaped after the accident that took place yesterday, DCP (Rural) PK Mehta said. He said the truck driver was arrested from Dinarpur bus stand, close to Shahbad town near here.
The police produced him in a local court which remanded him in two-day police custody. A case against the management of Arjun Public School has also been registered under various sections of the IPC, Mehta said.