10 killed, 64 injured as overcrowded yatri bus rolls down at Jhajjar Kotli

The ill-fated bus that met wtih an accident lying upside down at Jhajjar Kotli area of Jammu on Tuesday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
The ill-fated bus that met wtih an accident lying upside down at Jhajjar Kotli area of Jammu on Tuesday. -Excelsior/Rakesh

Prez, Dr Jitendra, LG Sinha, Azad grieved

Bivek Mathur

JAMMU, May 30: Five women and a child were among 10 persons who died while 64 others were injured after an overcrowded bus carrying Shri Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims from Amritsar to Katra met with a devastating accident near a bridge at Jhajjar Kotli area here today.
The yatris were visiting the shrine for a function.
“At around 5:30 am today, an overcrowded bus carrying 74 pilgrims to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Cave Shrine slipped off the road near a bridge at Jhajjar Kotli area on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, resulting in death of 10 persons, seven of them on-the-spot, and injuries to 64 others, 3 of them critically,” a senior police officer told the Excelsior.
“With the help of locals, CAPF and JKP personnel, all the injured have been evacuated to the Government Medical College Jammu, where they are undergoing treatment,” the police officer said.

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Principal Government Medical College Jammu, Dr Shashi Sudhan Sharma, however, said that only 59 people are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
“The condition of the critically injured patients is stable now,” said Dr Sharma.
Police identified the deceased as Kailash Sharma (65) son of Sita Ram of Lakhhisarai, Bihar; Lalita Devi (30) wife of Manoj Kumar of Amritsar, Punjab; Krish Sharma (12) son of Manij of Amritsar, Punjab; Arvind Sharma (age unknown) son of Mohinder Sharma of Amritsar, Punjab; Bimla Devi (age not known) wife of Meena Sharma, Phooli Devi (age not known) wife of Mohinder Sharma of Uttar Pradesh, Kunti Devi (50) wife of Girdhari Sharma, Rajinder, 45 (parentage not known) of Lakhhisarai, Bihar; Ganesh Sharma (age not known) son of Jagdish Sharma of Amritsar, Punjab, and Julli Devi (age not known) wife of Arvind Sharma of Bihar.
The injured have been identified as Rohan Sharma (27) son of Virender Sharma, Munna Sharma (27) son of Botal Mistri, Shallu Kumari (18) daughter of Virinder Sharma, Nisha Kumari (17) daughter of Munna Lal Sharma, Lov Sharma (13) son of Vikas Sharma, Baso Mistri (60) son of Ram Avtar Mistri, Kunti Devi (50) Baso Mistri, Batul Devi (50) wife of Virender Sharma, Abhishek Kumar (21) son of Vinod Ram, Himanshu Sharma (13) son of Mukesh Sharma, Biba Sharma (28) wife of Avinash Sharma, Lado (2) daughter of Mukesh Sharma, Jaana Sharma (50) wife of Ram Sharma, Banarsi Sharma (50) son of Kala Mistri, Lakshman (32) son of Kailash Sharma, Dinesh Sharma (40) son of Kailash, Ram Dulari Devi (55) wife of Kailash Sharma, Pintu Kumar (20) son of Mantu Sharma, Radia Devi (60) wife of Raja Mistri, Parteema Devi (40) wife of Mantu Sharma, Abhishek (18) son of Manu Mandal, Nitish (20) son of Kiran Mandal, Poonam Sharma (45) wife of Balram Sharma, Rubi Devi (35) wife of Ajay Sharma, Nitu Devi (35) wife of Bablu Kumar, Payal (18) daughter of Vinay Sharma, Shobha (19) daughter of Ganesh Sharma, Geeta Devi (35) wife of Manan Mistri, Vikash (35) son of Ram Brij Sharma, Parva Devi (60) wife of Pardeep Ram, Ravinder Panday (63) son of Saiyo Panday, unidentified male (approximately 50), Gopali Mistri (65) son of Tejo Mistri, Chinta Devi (64) wife of Gopal Mistri, Bittu (20) son of Joginder Sharma, Pankaj Kumar (21) son of Om Parkash, Nitika (11) daughter of Manan Mistri, Phool Devi (60) wife of Dheeraj, Ajay Sharma (47) son of Lakshmi Narayan Mistri, Nageshwari Devi (60) wife of Akal Mistri, Sushant (27) son of Gita Sharma, Rohit Sharma (23) son of Virinder Sharma, Avinash Kumar (29) son of Ram Brij Sharma, Prince (13) son of Manoj Kumar Sharma, Virinder Sharma (65) son of Mouji Lal Sharma, Ryansh (4) son of Rajan, Pooja Sharma (35) wife of Rajan, Bimla Devi (50) wife of Ram Brij Sharma, Manoj Sharma (41) son of unknown, Preeti (16) daughter of Mantu Sharma, Vinesh Sharma (45) son of Kailash Sharma, Rahul (8) son of Rakesh, Soni (5) daughter of Rakesh, Rajesh Sharma (35) son of Sarju Mistri, Malti Sharma (26) wife of Rakesh Sharma, Roohi (6 months) daughter of Rakesh Sharma, Pooja (35) wife of Ranjan, Komal Sharma (11) daughter of Vikash Sharma, Sarita (12) daughter of Rajesh Kumar, Ranjana (35) wife of Rajesh Sharma, Sonu (18) son of unknown, Ram Brij (60) son of Ishwar Sharma, Sarju Devi (35) wife of Banarasi Sharma, and Ankush Sharma (22) son of Sunil Sharma, all residents of Lakhhisarai, Bihar.
SHO Jhajjar Kotli Police Station, Inspector Azad Manhas, said that police have shifted the bodies of the deceased to the mortuary of the Government Medical College Jammu for conducting the post-mortem after which they will be handed over to their legal heirs for performing their last rites.
A case FIR number 114/2023 under Sections 279, 337, and 304(a) of the IPC has also been registered at Jhajjar Kotli Police Station and further investigation taken up to ascertain the reasons behind the accident, added the police officer.
Soon after the accident, Chief Secretary, Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, accompanied by Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Ramesh Kumar; DC Jammu, Avny Lavasa, SSP Jammu Chandan Kohli and other officers, visited the injured at the GMC Jammu and enquired about their condition.
He called the incident highly unfortunate and directed that the injured may be provided with best possible medical care.
He also prayed for those who have lost their lives in the accident and extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased.
The Chief Secretary directed the Divisional Administration to look into the causes of the road accident so that such incidents are avoided in future.
Addressing media persons, Dr Mehta said, “all the injured are being treated at the hospital and are being given all the possible assistance for their early recovery.”
Director General of Police, Dilbag Singh, accompanied by ADGP Jammu, Mukesh Singh, and other senior police officers also met the injured at the hospital and enquired about their well-being.
Speaking with media persons, the DGP said, “prima facie, it appears that the accident might have occurred due to a human error or over-speeding.”
“It is also possible that the driver of the vehicle might have dozed off on the wheel. It’s a high flyover kind of road from where the bus fell off, so the reason could also be over-speeding. It is part of investigation.” He also accepted the fact the bus was “partially overloaded”.
Meanwhile, President Draupadi Murmu; MoS in PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh; Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, and former Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, have termed the incident as unfortunate and expressed their sympathies with the families members of the deceased and wished speedy recovery to those injured.
In a tweet, the President of India expressed, “the loss of numerous pilgrims in the unfortunate accident in Jammu is deeply saddening. My thoughts and sympathies are with the families who have lost their loved ones. I pray for the speedy recovery of those injured.”
Earlier in the day, the MoS in PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh, also took to the Twitter to express his sympathies with the family members of the deceased.
He wrote on the micro blogging site, “just now spoke to DC Jammu Avny Lavasa after receiving the news of road accident of a bus enroute to Katra, in which 9 persons died. All the injured shifted to GMC Jammu, out of whom 3 are serious. Every possible help being provided. I am in constant touch (sic).”
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha tweeted: “extremely pained by the loss of lives in a tragic bus accident in Jhajjar Kotli, Jammu. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families & prayers for speedy recovery of the injured. Directed district administration to provide all possible assistance & treatment to the injured (sic).”
Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Azad wrote on Twitter: “pained to know about the loss of lives in Jhajjar Kotli, Jammu bus accident. I appeal to my party workers in the area to provide all possible assistance to the injured & families of those who have died. My thoughts are with families who have lost loves ones & prayers for speedy recovery of injured (sic)!”