Bihar: At least 12 killed as truck ploughs in a religious procession in Vaishali


In Bihar’s Vaishali district on Sunday night, a speeding truck struck a religious procession, injuring several others and killing at least 12 people, including a third of children, officials said.

Around 9 PM, a procession had gathered in front of a “peepal” tree on the side of the road to pray to the local deity “Bhumiya baba” when the accident happened in the Desri police station area of the north Bihar district, about 30 km from the state capital.

The accident was lamented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also announced an ex gratia payment of 2 lakh to each victim’s surviving family members and 50,000 to each injured person.

“The accident in Vaishali, Bihar is saddening. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon. An ex-gratia of 2 lakh from PMNRF (Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund) would be given to the next of kin of each deceased. The injured would be given 50,000,” the PM said on Twitter.

RJD MLA Mukesh Roushan, under whose Mahua assembly constituency the site of the incident falls, rushed to the area and said “at least nine people have died on the spot. Many others have been taken to the Sadar hospital at Hajipur (the district headquarters), and three succumbed to injuries on the way. Those whose conditions are critical are being referred to hospitals in Patna”.

Vaishali Superintendent of Police Manish Kumar said “the procession was taken out as part of a custom associated with marriages. A wedding was scheduled in a few days at the house of a resident of Sultanpur village nearby. The driver of the truck speeding through the adjacent Mahnar-Hajipur highway lost control. He is stuck inside the mangled vehicle and we fear that he might have died”.

According to locals, there were at least four children among the deceased.

Chaos reigned as those who had lost loved ones wept beside the road and many others shouted angry slogans, alleging that the police had arrived far too slowly.

The SP said, “We have summoned personnel from a number of adjoining police stations to speed up the rescue work and keep the law and order situation under control”.

In the meantime, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed his sorrow over the accident and ordered the district administration to make sure that those who have been hurt receive proper care, as well as that ex-gratia is quickly distributed to each deceased person’s next of kin in accordance with the law.

The Chief Minister tweeted in Hindi, “I am pained by the incident of a speeding truck crushing many people including children in Desri police station area of ​​Vaishali. There is deep sympathy for the relatives of the deceased and they will be given an ex-gratia grant of Rs.5 lakh each. Instructed for proper treatment of the injured. Wishing them a speedy recovery.” (translated)

(With inputs from PTI)

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