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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

15-yr-old girl on way to school killed, cousin injured by ‘speeding’ water tanker in Delhi’s Janakpuri

Girls walked to school every day in order to save money, says family; truck driver arrested.

delhi Updated: Aug 28, 2018 21:20 IST
Shiv Sunny
Shiv Sunny
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Police officials said the tanker was speeding and being driven rashly.
Police officials said the tanker was speeding and being driven rashly.(HT PHOTO)

A 15-year-old girl was killed and her 13-year-old cousin “crushed below the waist” as they came under the wheels of an allegedly speeding Delhi Jal Board water tanker on their way to school in west Delhi’s Janakpuri on Monday morning.

Police officials said Nagma, who goes only be her first name, was killed on the spot in front of her father while her cousin Samreen is battling for her life at the intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital. The girls belong to an impoverished family and would walk a nearly kilometre to school in order to save money.

Nagma was killed on the spot in front of her father.
Nagma was killed on the spot in front of her father.

Police identified the errant tanker driver as 46-year-old Dharmender.

Deputy commissioner of police (west) Vijay Kumar said Dharmender was allegedly driving “rashly” and at a “very high speed” which led to the accident.

The driver was booked for causing death due to negligence and arrested.

“He was not drunk, but we are checking records to see if he was prosecuted for any traffic violations in the past,” DCP Kumar said.

Nagma and Samreen, both daughters of garment vendors, lived with their parents in west Delhi’s Bindapur. They studied at the same government school in Janakpuri’s B-Block.

“We earn very little, so we can’t afford school vans. But I know how rashly motorists drive in the morning, so my brother Ali or I would ensure that one of us walks them to school every morning,” said Nagma’s father Mehendi Hasan. Nagma was the eldest of Hasan’s four daughters.

Hasan said was walking the girls to school around 6.30am on Monday when the accident happened at a traffic junction near Mata Chanan Devi Hospital in Janakpuri.

“The girls were about to climb a pavement after crossing the road when the water tanker suddenly hit them from behind. The children were caught under the tanker’s wheels. I was able to pull out Samreen in the nick of time, but couldn’t save my daughter,” said Hasan.

He said the tanker sped away from the accident spot before the driver decided to abandon the vehicle some distance away and run on foot.

“The driver said he was afraid of being attacked by angry mob,” said an investigator after arresting the suspect.

Back at the accident spot, an autorickshaw driver helped Hasan rush the children to Mata Chanan Devi Hospital nearby.

“My daughter was a very studious girl who was among the toppers at her school. She dreamt of becoming a television journalist. I’d promised to get her admitted to a media school in Noida after she completed her schooling. Last night she was sorting out her photographs in which she ‘looked like a reporter’,” said Hasan, breaking down at the hospital.

He said he had urged his daughter to skip school on Monday.

“It was raining and I did not want the children to walk in the rain. But Nagma insisted that she went to school because she did not want to miss a unit test scheduled in the day,” said Hasan.

Hasan said he hoped at least Nagma’s cousin Samreen would survive. “If Samreen survives, I will see my daughter in her. I cannot bear the loss of both the girls,” he said.

Dinesh Mohaniya, the DJB vice chairman, said the ownership of the tanker was unclear. “I have asked the officials to check whether we owned the tanker or had hired it,” said Mohaniya, adding that the accused driver had valid documents.

First Published: Aug 28, 2018 00:32 IST

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