A popular annual religious festival on the Chintpurni road here turned into a horror show on Sunday when a private bus drove into a crowd of devotees partaking of langar, killing seven people and injuring 17.
A search is on to find out if the bus knocked over any devotee into a nearby ditch. Police suspect brake failure to be the cause of this accident that happened around 5.30pm near Chohal, about 12 kilometres from Hoshiarpur. The 50-km stretch from Hoshiarpur in Punjab to the Chintpurni temple in Una district of Himachal Pradesh is a sea of pilgrims this time of the year for ‘Chintpurni Mela’, a fair named after the major pilgrimage centre and one of the Shakti Peethas dedicated to Mother Goddess.
It being a Sunday, the rush was even bigger. The road was packed with pedestrians and motorist receiving ‘langar’ from the roadside stalls when the bus ran through the crowd and crashed into a parapet. The bodies of the people crushed under its tyres were hard to retrieve. The road being too crammed for ambulances and police vehicles to enter, the rescue took more than an hour. Private vehicles moved some of the injured to hospital. Local legislator Sunder Sham Arora joined the rescue and carried some of the injured in his car.
Injured Sandip of Bassi Mudda and Shatrughan of JCT Mill Colony were referred to the PGI (Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research) in Chandigarh.