A young journalist lost his life during the frantic race among mediapersons to get Rampal's footage. Shivam Bhatt (24), a reporter with Zee News channel, was killed in an accident on the Kaithal-Ambala road near here in the wee hours of Thursday. Two of his colleagues, reporter Rohit Khanna and cameraman Jaiveer, were seriously injured.
Police officials said the trio was chasing the ambulance in which Satlok Ashram head Rampal was being brought to Chandigarh following his arrest from Barwala (Hisar) when their car overturned after hitting the carcass of a bull lying on the road.
The two reporters and the cameraman had covered the developments at Satlok Ashram in Barwala.
The police said a large number of mediapersons, in their own vehicles, were following the cavalcade in which Rampal was being brought to Chandigarh.
Khanna and Jaiveer were shifted to the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Reserach (PGIMER), Chandigarh, after being given first aid in the civil hospital here.
The mishap took place around 3am near Kultaran village, 2km from Kaithal town on the Hisar-Chandigarh National Highway. The injured stopped a truck to take them to the government hospital here. However, Bhatt succumbed to his injuries before reaching the hospital.
CM expresses grief
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar expressed grief over the journalist's death. He also wished for the speedy recovery of the injured.
The CM announced an ex gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the deceased journalist, adding that the entire expenditure on the treatment of the injured would be borne by the state government.
After getting information on Thursday morning, several mediapersons and social workers reached the civil hospital. Deputy commissioner NK Solanki and superintendent of police (SP) Kulvinder Singh also visited the hospital. The body of the deceased was handed over to his family.
A PGIMER spokesperson said Jaiveer had been admitted to the Advanced Trauma Centre of the hospital. He suffered head injuries and his condition is critical but stable. Khanna underwent a surgery at a private hospital in SAS Nagar. His condition is said to be stable.