35 passengers killed, 16 injured as overloaded mini-bus plunges into gorge

Ill-fated vehicle after accident at Sirgwari area of district Kishtwar. (Inset) 3-year-old Adeeba, who lost her parents and two brothers in the accident. -Excelsior/Tilak Raj
Ill-fated vehicle after accident at Sirgwari area of district Kishtwar. (Inset) 3-year-old Adeeba, who lost her parents and two brothers in the accident. -Excelsior/Tilak Raj

Guv orders probe; SAC decision soon to curb accidents
3-yr-old only survivor in family of five

Ajay Raina
JAMMU, July 1: In a major road accident, 35 people were killed and 16 others sustained critical injuries as overloaded mini-bus plunged into deep gorge in Kishtwar district early this morning. The tragedy has put all the concerned authorities in the dock for being non-serious towards blatant violation of rules by the operators of the private passenger vehicles.
The ill-fated vehicle bearing registration number JK17-6787 was on its way to Kishtwar from Keshwan when the driver lost control over it as a result of which mini-bus plunged into 1000 meters deep gorge near Sirgwari resulting into on the spot death of 34 persons and injuries to 17.

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The vehicle having seating capacity for 27 persons was actually carrying 51 passengers in blatant violation of the rules and to earn some additional bucks both the driver and the conductor preferred to put the lives of all the passengers to the grave risk.
It was only due to overloading that driver lost control of the vehicle as neither the vehicle was old one nor the condition of the road at the spot was worst, said Deputy Commissioner Kishtwar Angrez Singh Rana while talking to media persons at the spot of the accident.
“The most shocking aspect is that mini-bus operator continued to allow people to board the vehicle right from Keshwan up to Sirgwari but there was nobody either from the police or from the civil administration to check his illegal act”, some people told EXCELSIOR.
On getting information about the accident, police teams rushed to the spot and with the help of Army personnel and locals started rescue operation. Deputy Commissioner Kishtwar Angrez Singh Rana, SSP Kishtwar Shakti K Pathak and former MLA Kishtwar Sunil Sharma also reached the spot to personally supervise the rescue operation.
Minister of State in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh, who is also Member of Parliament from the area, also remained in touch with district administration and police authorities during the rescue operation.
The accident has also shocked the Governor Satya Pal Malik, who has stated that all the reasons for such incidents will be probed thoroughly and strong decisions will be taken in the next meeting of the State Administrative Council to ensure strict action against those responsible for such avoidable incidents.
After hectic efforts, all the injured persons were shifted to District Hospital Kishtwar where one of them succumbed to injuries taking the death toll to 35.
Later, 15 injured persons were airlifted to Jammu in Indian Air Force (IAF) and private choppers for treatment in Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH).
After completing medical and legal formalities, the bodies of the deceased were handed over to family members for last rites.
In the accident, a 3-year-old injured girl Adeeba, of Keshwan, who also sustained injuries, lost all her family members. Her father Akhter Hussain, mother Ruksana Begum and 2 brothers were among the deceased.
The deceased have been identified as Amjad Mir, son of Abdul Letief of Keshwan, Ghulam Mohammad Butt, son of Ahmadoo Butt of Nagarna Keshwan, Begma Begum, wife of Usman Khanday of Nagarna Keshwan, Deepak Kumar, son of Naib Chand of Pakalan Thakrie, Tahira Begum, wife of late Irshad Ahmed of Nagarna Keshwan, Noor Din Choudhan, son of Kamma Gujjar of Jugna Keshwan, Shazia Banoo, daughter of late Akhter Hussain of Nagarna Keshwan, Bal Krishan, son of Dewa Nand of Keshwan, Binota Devi, wife of Bal Krishan of Keshwan, Taja Begum, wife of Ghulam Hassan of Nagarna Keshwan, at present Banderna Kishtwar, Saja Begum, wife of Abdullah Wani of Nagarna Keshwan, Nahinda Banoo, daughter of Bashir Ahmed Mir of Gamas Keshwan, Akhter Hussain, son of Abdul Sammad of Keshwan, 45-days minor boy, son of Akhter Hussain of Keshwan, Wasim Raja, son of Abdul Samad of Nagarna Keshwan, Bibi Begum, wife of Jamal of Jugna Keshwan, Zaitoona Banoo, daughter of Shafi Ahmed of Keshna Keshwan, Noor Din, son of Jamal Ahmed of Jugna Keshwan, Hajra Begum, wife of Bashir Ahmed of Balna Keshwan, at present Saraz Doda, Permeela Devi, wife of Nek Ram of Anjole Kishtwar, Haqnawaz Butt, son of Ghulam Mohammad Butt of Keshwan, Taraq Hussain Rather, son of Ghulam Mohammad Rather of Nagni Garh Keshwan, Abdul Hamid Rather, son of Wali Mohammad Rather of Keshwan, Masoom Ali, son of Mohammad Shafi of Bresmena Premnagar, Sajan Sharma, son of Rakesh Kumar of Keshwan, Junaid Sheikh, son of Javed Sheikh of Keshwan, Aqib Hussain, son of Akhter Hussain Butt of Keshwan, Ashwani Kumar, son of late Jia Lal of Keshna Keshwan, Bashir Ahmed, son of Qasim Din Gujjar of Jugna Keshwan, Nawaza Begum, wife of Javed Ahmed Sheikh of Keshwan, Rakesh Kumar (driver), son of Dina Nath of Pakalan, Gulabi Begum, wife of Kher Din of Keshwan, Asia Tabasum, daughter of Mohammad Usman Khanday of Nagarna Keshwan and Bashir Ahmed, son of Ghulam Hussain of Keshwan.
The injured have been identified as Parveen Bano, daughter of Abdul Gaffar, Mohammad Abdullah, son of Abdul Subhan, Deepa, daughter of Jodh Ram, Mohammad Alywas, son of Shuban Butt, Azra Banoo, daughter of Mohi-ud-Din, Kulsum, daughter of Ashfaq Mir, Abdul Rehman Butt, son of Ahamedu Butt, Haseena Banoo, daughter of Ghulam Mohi-Ud-Din, Muneema Begum, wife of Zakir Hussain, Parveena Banoo, daughter of Mohammad Ashiq, Irshad, son of Sardaru, Adeeba, daughter of Akhter Hussain and Muneer Ahmed, son of Abdul Aziz, all residents of Keshwan, Lekh Raj, son of Bidya Lal of Sarawan and Arjun, son of Nek Ram of Anjole.
Meanwhile, Governor Satya Pal Malik has expressed grief over the loss of lives in the accident and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of those killed.
According to a Raj Bhawan spokesperson, few months ago, the Governor had directed the Transport Department officers to take away unfit vehicles and untrained drivers off the road. Malik observed that most of the accidents take place due to “careless and untrained” drivers, who he said drive without any regard for rules and regulations.
Governor added that all the reasons for such incidents would be probed thoroughly and strong decisions would be taken in the next State Administrative Council (SAC) meeting to ensure strict action against those responsible for such avoidable incidents.
In a condolence message, the Governor conveyed his sympathies to the bereaved families, the spokesperson said.
Malik announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of the kin of the deceased. He directed the administration to provide the best medical treatment to the injured and wished them speedy recovery.
MoS PMO Dr Jitendra Singh has also expressed grief over the loss of lives in this accident. In a condolence message, Dr Singh has conveyed his sympathies to the bereaved families and wished speedy recovery of the injured persons.
Advisors to the Governor, K Vijay Kumar, Khurshid Ahmed Ganai, KK Sharma and K Skandan have expressed deep shock and sorrow over the loss of precious lives in the tragic accident.