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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

School van crash: Parents block Nakodar-Jalandhar road for five hours

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Nakodar, July 25, 2013
First Published: 19:00 IST(25/7/2013) | Last Updated: 19:02 IST(25/7/2013)

Families of 14 schoolchildren killed in collision between a school van and a truck on March 4 staged a dharna and blocked traffic for five hours at the crash site near Gohir village on the Nakodar-Jalandhar road on Thursday.

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The protesters raised slogans against the administration for its failure to arrest the van owner, Harpinderpal Singh, of Gahir
village, reportedly under political pressure.

Residents of Talwandi Bharo, Mudh and nearby villages said that they had given an ultimatum to Nakodar MLA on July 19 at cremation of Charanpreet Singh, who died on July 15, after being critically injured. They claimed that the administration had been informed about Thursday's protest, yet they did not deem it fit to arrest the owner.

Protesters alleged that the police failed to arrest the accused, even as his bail application was rejected by the sessions court.
The van owner was booked 81 days after the horrific accident of June 24 under Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public authority) of the IPC.

Harpinderpal of Gohir village was booked on a complaint from Major Singh of Talwandi Bharo village, whose son Gurjot singh was among the victim. He had said in his complaint that owner has failed to install speed governors on the van in spite of repeated requests and the vehicle was not painted yellow.

The Nakodar SDM had also stated in his inquiry report that the van did not have a school permit and was not painted the right yellow colour.

SP (D) Rajinder Singh reached the spot of the protest and said that the accused van owner had been arrested and would be produced in court on Friday.

Major Singh said: "I went to the Nakodar police station many times to get an update on the van owner's arrest. The police kept assuring me that the needful would be done, but there was no arrest. I saw once saw him seated right opposite the SHO, but still he was not arrested. Such is the level of complicity."

He added that the person responsible for the death of so many young lives must be punished.

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