A pilgrimage turned into a nightmare for the Chaurasia family from Bhayander, when four of its members, including a two-month-old, were killed on their way to Shirdi on Thursday. Their driver also died.
The family was travelling in a Maruti Eeco on the Sinnar-Shirdi highway at about 10.30am when a jeep, a Trax Cruiser carrying 17 passengers, came roaring towards them from the other of the road.
With no divider on that particular stretch, the speeding jeep driver lost control and rammed into the driver’s side of the Eeco, said D Patil, senior inspector, a police officer from Vavi, a village located 1km from the accident spot.
Passengers on both vehicles were rushed to Patil Hospital in Sinnar, a few kilometres away, after locals informed the police about the accident.
Five of them, all of whom were travelling in the Eeco, including the driver, were declared dead on the spot.
The deceased were identified as Premlata Chaurasia,25, her infant son Tanishq, her mother Rukminidevi Chaurasia, 55, a relative Foolmati Chaurasia, 47, and the driver – Prashant Karanje,32. Premlata’s husband Virendra,27, mother-in-law Sumitra,58, and father-in-law Anant Lal,60, survived, but with injuries.
Those travelling in the jeep were not spared either — seven of them sustained grievous injuries and another five got away with smaller bumps and bruises.
These passengers belonged to four different families from Bangalore. They had arrived at Shirdi by train from Bangalore on Wednesday and were on their way to Nashik on Thursday in a hired jeep when the mishap took place.
Dinkar Raut, the driver of the jeep has been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including section 279 for rash driving, 304A for causing death due to negligence, 337 for causing hurt, 338 for causing grievous hurt and 427 for causing damage.
Raut, a native of Pimpri Nirmal in Ahmednagar, was not driving under the influence of alcohol, the police officials said.
“Raut has been admitted to a hospital in Nashik and has sustained fractures on both his hands and injuries on his legs. He will be arrested once he recovers,” said an official.
‘Who would have expected this, they were all on a pilgrimage’
mumbai: Virendra Chaurasia,27, had decided to take his family to Shirdi and seek blessings after his son was born two months ago. But before he could reach there, he lost his son, wife, mother-in-law and aunt.
Sitting alone in a corner of his Bhayander home, Virendra has been inconsolable since, his relatives said. “His son, Tanishq was born on January 7. According to our customs, the child cannot be taken to a holy place for at least one and a half months,” said Rajendra,28, Virendra’s brother. “When that period was over, Virendra wanted to take him on his first trip, to Shirdi. Who would have expected this? They were on a pilgrimage.”
Virendra had married Premlata,25, around a year ago. After their first son, Tanishq was born, Premlata’s mother Rukminidevi Chaurasia had come to their house to see her grandchild.
“She [Rukminidevi] was supposed to leave for her native place after visiting us on Wednesday. But her train tickets did not get confirmed, so we told her not to travel and invited her to join us on the pilgrimage,” said Sumitradevi,58, Virendra’s mother, who survived along with her husband Anant Lal and son.
Sumitradevi’s sister Foolmati Chaurasia had also decided to travel with the family saying she had not taken a trip with her sister in years. She too lost her life in the mishap.
“It is unbelievable what that journey had in store for us. We were happy, excited about visiting Shirdi and offering prayers,” said Sumitradevi. “We were looking forward to my grandson’s first visit to the temple. One moment changed everything. In that second, I lost half my family.”
While Sumitradevi and Virendra were discharged from the hospital on Friday, Anant Lal is still receiving treatment at a south Mumbai hospital for grievous injuries on his chest and head.