17 killed, 16 injured as over-loaded mini-bus plunges into gorge

Rescue workers pulling out the accident victims from the gorge at Dandaran near Thakraie in district Kishtwar. -Excelsior/Tilak Raj
Rescue workers pulling out the accident victims from the gorge at Dandaran near Thakraie in district Kishtwar. -Excelsior/Tilak Raj

Rash, negligent driving lead to tragedy

Kishtwar witnesses 3 major tragedies in last one month

Ajay Raina
KISHTWAR, Sept 14: In third major road accident in Kishtwar district during the past one month, 17 passengers were killed and 16 others received grievous injuries when the overloaded mini-bus they were traveling in skidded off the road and plunged into deep gorge at Dandaran near Thakraie on Kishtwar-Keshwan road this morning.
The tragic accident has raised many questions vis-à-vis working of the agencies responsible for checking the violations of Traffic and Motor Vehicle Rules particularly in the hilly areas of the State where there is no let up in the loss of lives due to negligence on the part of passenger vehicle operators.
As per the reports, the ill-fated vehicle bearing registration number JK17-0663 was on its way to Kishtwar from Keshwan area when the driver failed to negotiate a sharp curve due to rash and negligent driving as a result of which vehicle rolled down into gorge at Dandaran near Thakraie.

Click here to watch video

On getting information about the mishap, police contingent led by SSP Kishtwar Rajinder Kumar Gupta rushed to the spot and with the help of Army personnel, rescue workers and locals started rescue operation.
Deputy Commissioner Kishtwar Angrez Singh Rana, MLA Sunil Kumar Sharma and MLA Inderwal GM Saroori also rushed to the spot to personally supervise the rescue operation.
All the injured persons were brought out of the gorge after hectic efforts and shifted to District Hospital Kishtwar. Later, 11 injured persons were airlifted to Jammu for specialized treatment in Government Medical College and Hospital Jammu. Eight critically injured persons were flown in Indian Air Force MI-17 Helicopter by Squadron Leader MK Singh to Air Force Station Jammu and three other injured were evacuated in a Pawan Hans chopper.
The deceased have been identified as Nazir Ahmed, son of Abdul Aziz of Sirgwadi, Mohammad Yousuf, son of Maqbool Rather of Sirgwadi, Akhter Hussain Butt, son of Mohammad Ramzan of Nagarna Keshwan, Majeeda Begum, wife of Ghulam Hussain of Sirgwadi, Tariq Hussain, son of Ghulam Hussain Khandey of Sirgwadi, Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din, son of Ghulam Rasool Rather of Nagarna Keshwan, Girdhari Lal, son of Diya Ram of Murna Anjole, Nazir Ahmed Sheikh, son of Ali Shah of Sirgwadi, Misra Begum, wife of Nazir Rather of Sirgwadi, Umar, sonof Majeed Rather of Sirgwadi, Kasim, son of Tajdin of Hudna Sirgwadi, Shaheena Begum, son of Ghulam Nabi of Srawan, Ashraf Hussain, son of Bashir Naik, Nasir, son of Habibullah of Ghat Doda, Jabbar, son of Bashir Ahmed of Srawan, Vikram, son of Ashok Kumar of Kanoor Thakraie and Kuldeep Singh, son of Mohinder Singh of Thakraie.
The injured have been identified as Irfan, son of Mohammad Shafi of Nagni Keshwan, Aisha (2), daughter of Ghulam Nabi of Sranwan Thakraie, Waseem Raja, son of Nazir Ahmed of Sirgwari Thakraie, Yousuf, son of Bahan Nayak of Sranwan Thakraie, Sajda Begum, wife of Abdul Rashid of Keshwan, Mohammad Ismail, son of Mango of Udha Sirgwari, Lal Singh, son of Phool Singh of Thakraie, Mukhta Begum alias Shabnam, wife of Habibullah of Ghat Doda, Abdul Rashid, son of Subhan Sheikh of Keshwan Thakraie, Abdullah Sheikh, son of Rehma Sheikh of Keshwan, Sakeena, wife of Tariq Hussain of Dadpeth, Muddasir, son of Mohammad Ayub of Bonjwah, Azhar Hussain, son of Mohi-ud-Din of Keshwan, Tariq Hussain, son of Shabir Hussain of Dadpeth, Fareena, wife of Ghulam Nabi of Sranwan and Ashok Kumar, son of Asaram of Karoon Thakraie.
After completing medical and legal formalities, the bodies of the deceased were handed over to legal heirs.
The vehicle was carrying several passengers beyond its seating capacity, which clearly established that there is no let up in overloading of passenger vehicles. The violation of Traffic and Motor Vehicle Rules is going on unabated despite repeated instructions from top level in the administration about devising mechanism to check the menace.
However, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Traffic Shakti Pathak said that the said vehicle was challaned yesterday for overloading. “Traffic Department has written to Governor to frame Fact Finding Committee to investigate the three major accidents, which took place in the past one month in the district so as to check the lacunas behind them,” he informed.
This was the third major accident in Kishtwar district in the last one month. While 13 Machail Yatra devotees were killed when their cab plunged into a gorge on August 21, seven persons were killed and 12 others injured when two vehicles were hit by boulders a day earlier.
Meanwhile, Governor Satya Pal Malik expressed grief over the loss of lives in the road accident and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the injured.
In his message, the Governor has prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families. Malik wished speedy recovery to those injured in the accident.
Malik has also directed for providing free medical treatment to the injured in Government hospitals.
Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh has also expressed grief over the tragic accident. He has appealed to Governor’s Administration to check menace of overloading of passengers through strict imposition of traffic rules. “All the roads in the district have been granted Central Road Fund for upgradation”, he said and appealed the Government to expedite the work.
Former Chief Minister and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti has also expressed shock over the loss of lives in the accident and conveyed her sympathies to the bereaved families.
Advisor to Governor B B Vyas visited Government Medical College Bakshi Nagar Jammu to enquire about health condition of the persons injured in the accident and also assess the treatment being given to them by the hospital authorities.
He was accompanied by Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Sanjeev Verma, IGP Jammu, SD Singh Jamwal, DC Jammu, Ramesh Kumar, Principal Medical College Jammu Dr Sunanda Rainaand other senior officers of the Administration. He directed the authorities to extend all the requisite support to the families of the injured and also persons accompanying them.