2014 Beas tragedy: Victims’ parents say college shirking liability
Over 18 months after 24 engineering students of a Hyderabad-based engineering college were washed away in the Beas river at Thalout in Mandi district, their parents’ struggle for justice is far from over.punjab Updated: Dec 13, 2015 21:31 IST
Over 18 months after 24 engineering students of a Hyderabad-based engineering college were washed away in the Beas river at Thalout in Mandi district, their parents’ struggle for justice is far from over.
While VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology and its instructor, who was accompanying the students, had claimed that he had cautioned students against stepping into the river after locals warned them, parents allege otherwise.
“We have full faith in the law, but the institution is shamelessly shirking responsibility, even as a college teacher was himself standing on the river rocks with the students,” B Rammohan Rao, father of one of the victims, Rithik, 20, said, adding that they had photographic evidence of the teacher accompanying the students in the river.
The Himachal Pradesh high court will hear the matter on Monday. Though the court had awarded the parents a compensation of `5 lakh each, they have appealed to it for guidelines and strict action against the college management so that such incidents could be avoided in future.
“No one can bring back our children, but the institute should at least realise its fault so that such mishaps could be avoided. Instead the college staff is lying blatantly,” KRKV Prasad, father of another victim, Sree Harsha, 20, said.
“It’s very agonising to hear irresponsible statements from the institute and its staff,” he rued.
“After the tragedy, several leaders of Telangana had come to supervise the massive search operation to fish out the bodies. Telangana home minister Naini Narsimha Reddy had even assured strict action against the guilty, but government is yet to walk the talk,” Prasad claimed.
The parents also said the Beas tragedy was not the first one involving the college, as two students died when they were taken to Pulichintala project, on the border of Guntur and Nalgonda district in Telangana, for an educational tour in October 2012.
On an industrial tour, the students were on their way from Shimla to Manali when they stopped on the banks of the Beas for some photographs. Soon after, the water level rose as the floodgates of the nearby Larji hydel plant were abruptly opened, sending tonnes of water downstream that washed away the students and a tour operator.
The 25 bodies were fished out after a over month-long search operation by the personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), army, navy, police, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and 50 expert divers.