20 pilgrims killed as truck rolls down gorge

Hoshiarpur (Punjab), Oct 10: Twenty pilgrims, including 15 women, were killed and 50 injured when an over-loaded mini truck rolled down a 100 feet deep gorge near village Nari on the Hoshiarpur-Dharmsala road in the wee hours today.

"The pilgrims were returning from Chintpurni shrine in Himachal Pradesh and were headed to Begowal in Punjab's Kapurthala district when the accident occurred," Hoshiarpur SSP Sukhchain Singh Gill said.

He said the accident, in which some children were also killed, occurred near the Punjab-HP border. All the injured pilgrims were admitted in local Civil Hospital from where four have been referred to DMC, Ludhiana in a critical condition.

Senior Medical Officer of the local Civil Hospital, Anil Mahindra, said three injured persons were in hospital, while others had been discharged. Lakhvir Singh, Station House Officer of the Sardar Police Station, said that the driver of the mini truck Tarsem Singh, who was among the injured, told police that he lost control over the vehicle after its brakes failed.

Police have arrested Tarsem Singh and a case under relevant Sections of the IPC had been registered against him. Surjit Kumar Jyani, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, who visited the local Civil Hospital to take stock of the situation, met relatives of the deceased and injured pilgrims.

He also announced an ex-gratia grant of Rs one lakh each on behalf of the state government to the kin of deceased pilgrims, Rs 25,000 each to injured persons, besides free treatment to all injured persons.


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