A majority of the people did not know the girl, but came to pay their respects to the family

On Thursday morning, a few thousand people thronged the home of S. Sruthi, the class II student who was run over by the rear wheels of her school bus, after she fell through a gaping hole on its floor, near Tambaram on Wednesday.

 A vast majority of the people who gathered there did not know the girl or her family, and yet had come to the home to pay their respects to the girl’s family. All of them were moved to tears. “The news was heartrending. No parent should go through such trauma. No other child should ever be hurt or lose his or her life due to someone’s carelessness or negligence,” said Selvi Ramu, a homemaker, who came along with her children from her home in Mannivakkam, a few kilometres away from Sruthi’s home.

 Sethumadhavan, the victim’s father, was able to regain his composure for a brief while and while speaking to reporters, said: “I was driving my vehicle along with a few students to drop them at their homes, when I received the information. I was not fully aware of what exactly had happened. But I first dropped all the students at their homes and only then went to the site of the accident,” he said, fighting back tears.

On Wednesday evening, a mob damaged the school bus before setting it on fire.

Sruthi’s mother, Priya, was distraught and neighbours were by her side, persuading her to take sips of water every few minutes.  

In the evening, at 5 p.m., Sruthi’s body was buried in a cemetery in Varadarajapuram as more than 1,000 people bade her farewell.

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