Monday, January 31, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Eighteen killed in mishap
14 victims members of one family
From Ruchika Mohindra

DEHRU (Ludhiana), Jan 30 — Eighteen persons, including eight women and four children, were killed when a heavily loaded truck overturned and fell atop a Sumo and a Maruti Zen coming from the opposite side on the G.T. Road, 38 km from Ludhiana, at 7.45 a.m. today.

Among the dead were 14 members of a family who were returning to their native village, Talwandi Malik near Samana in Patiala, after performing a marriage ceremony at Wajola near Kapurthala. The Sumo driver, Wariam Singh, and his friend, Jarnail Singh (22), were also killed.

The deceased were identified as Pargat Singh (28), his wife Harwinder Kaur (24), daughter Sehajpreet Kaur (2), sister Bholi (23), mother Gurcharan Kaur (65), Kulwant Kaur, her sons Sonu (9), and Prabhjeet Singh, alias Sethi (14), Preetam Kaur, her son Surinder Singh (27), and daughter-in-law Maninder Kaur (23), Rajinder Kaur, her daughter Simarjeet (6) and Tarlok Singh (60).

Surinder Singh and Maninder Kaur were married only a month ago, informed a grieving relative, Lakhwinder Singh. “My entire family has been killed, leaving me and my brother alone”, he said, still in a state of shock.

The ADC (Development), Mr Tejvir Singh, who was present at the accident site, said the mishap occurred when a truck carrying sugar bags rammed into another truck loaded with ironbars and parked on the roadside. The jolt overturned the truck atop the Sumo and a Maruti Zen car coming from the opposite direction, killing all occupants in the two vehicles.

The driver of the truck carrying sugar bags (URM-1156), identified as Anil Kumar escaped. The police has arrested the driver of the other truck, Jaspal Singh. A case under Sections 304-A, 427 and 279, IPC, has been registered against the two.

It is learnt that the police post at Kot Manji Sahib village, 3 km from the accident site, was intimated about the mishap almost as soon as it occurred. Work to lift the truck and extricate those in the trapped vehicles begun within 15 minutes of the tragedy.

A senior police official said when police personnel reached the site, they could not see the Sumo beneath the truck. Only the rear of the Zen car was visible. Cranes were used to lift the truck. The body of the Sumo had to be cut in order to extricate the bodies.

The bodies of the couple travelling in the Zen car, Chaman Lal Kalia and his wife, Subhash Kalia of Phagwara, were taken out from the smashed car with much difficulty. All bodies were extricated by 9 a.m.

The post-mortem of the deceased was performed at the police post at Kot Manji Sahib by a team of doctors from the Civil Hospital, Samrala.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has expressed grief over the loss of 18 lives in the accident near Khanna.

He also conveyed his heartfelt sympathies to members of the bereaved families.

Jaspal Singh, when contacted, told this correspondent that he had parked his truck on the roadside following a mechanical flaw and was awaiting a mechanic. He denied the other truck had rammed into his truck.

“The driver of the other truck was probably drunk and when he realised he was about to ram into my truck, he turned the steering wheel and the vehicle overturned,” he said.Back


Village in mourning
From Jupinderjit Singh

TALWANDI MALIK (Patiala), Jan 30 — A few minutes past 10 in the morning, a loudspeaker atop the village gurdwara broke the tragic news of the demise of 14 persons belonging to a family of three brothers in the village.

Confused and in a state of shock, villagers began to came out on the streets. They gathered at the house of Tarlok Singh whose family and relatives were reported to have been killed in an accident near Khanna. A few elders proceeded towards the accident site. Some contacted the local police post which had received a wireless message regarding the accident.

The small village was plunged into sorrow. Men and womenfolk were too dumbstruck to offer any words of solace to the surviving grief-stricken members of the family.

A couple of vehicles provided by the district administration brought the badly mutilated bodies to the village in the evening. There was wailing all around.

The dead belonged to a family of three brothers — Harnek Singh, Gurbachan Singh and Tarlok Singh. The first two had died a long time ago. The third incidentally died on this very date last year.

Sobbing villagers said the family had gone to Kapurthala four days back to attend a marriage. Lakhwinder Singh, one of the four survivors of the family, who had stayed back, was inconsolable. He kept embracing his son, a hosteler in Punjab Public School, Nabha.

The bodies were consigned to the flames amidst wailing. Those who could not bear it any longer trudged back home speechless.Back

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