Mystery shrouds drowning of 3 students in Bhinni river

Police and locals searching the dead bodies of students from river Bhinni in Billawar on Friday.
Police and locals searching the dead bodies of students from river Bhinni in Billawar on Friday.

Pall of gloom descends village Barola Baggan

Avtar Bhat

KATHUA, Nov 25: In a tragic incident, three students of village Barola Baggan 100 kms from here drowned in Bhinni river in Billawar tehsil of Kathua district yesterday and their bodies were fished out today.
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The pall of gloom descended the tiny village after the news spread in the area and family members and the relatives of the students were seen wailing and sobbing as the news came a rude shock to them.
The dead were identified as Pankaj Sharma, 17,son of Romesh Chander, Pankaj Kumar 18, son of Roshan Lal and Sheetal Kumar 17, son of Ajit Singh, all residents of village Barola Baggan in Billawar. They were the students of Government Higher Secondary School Billawar.
Their bodies were fished out from deep waters of river Bhinni by police with the help of locals today after search operation in the river.
As per the reports, the trio had gone to School as usual yesterday morning. However, panic gripped their families as they did not return in the evening. Some people saw their clothes on the bank of Bhinni river this morning and they informed the police.
As per police reports, they were taking bath in Bhinni river and drowned in deep waters. A police team immediately rushed to location and fished out bodies out of deep water. The bodies were shifted to Sub District Hospital Billawar for legal formalities. Billawar police has started investigation into the matter. The family members said that they were missing since yesterday and did not return in the evening from the School. Their mobile phones were also found switch off so their location could not be traced. This morning local people noticed the clothes lying on the bank of Bhinni river and they informed the police.
Terming it a mystery the relatives and family members have demanded a thorough investigation into the matter.
Police said after receiving information through reliable sources that few clothing items along with two school bags, two mobile phones and three pair of shoes have been found near the bank of the Bhinni river, the police team of PS Billawar led by Inspector, Sunil Kumar SHO PS Billawar under the guidance of SDPO Billawar, Arvind Kumar swung into the action and immediately started search operation in the river. During the search operation police team along with civilians were able to fish out three dead bodies from the river.
Police said inquest proceedings under Section 174 CrPC have been initiated into the matter. All the dead bodies have been shifted for post-mortem to SDH Billawar and further investigation is underway.
The dead bodies will be handed over to the respective families for the last rites after completion of all legal formalities, police said.
Terming it a mystery, the relatives of the dead students said that they apprehend a foul play in the tragedy and police should have a thorough investigation into the matter. However, some eyewitness in the area said that they found some bottles and pressure cooker near the river bank. The police has not reached any conclusion as yet and it is investigating different angles to ascertain the facts. SSP Kathua, Romesh Chander Kotwal is himself monitoring the situation.
A police official said that they have registered a case and everything will be crystal clear after the thorough probe and nothing can be said at this juncture. There can be possibility that one student might have drowned in the deep waters and other two have tried to rescue him and they too drowned in gushing water as they did not know swimming.