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Four killed as truck runs over people sleeping on road divider in Seemapuri

Driver arrested from Shamli in Uttar Pradesh, his truck seized; CCTV footage shows he was speeding, says DCP

September 22, 2022 01:28 am | Updated 01:28 am IST - New Delhi

Mattress lying on the road divider where the truck ran over six sleeping victims in the early hours of Wednesday at Seemapuri in north-east Delhi.

Mattress lying on the road divider where the truck ran over six sleeping victims in the early hours of Wednesday at Seemapuri in north-east Delhi. | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

Four persons sleeping on a road divider were killed and two injured when a speeding truck ran over them in the early hours of Wednesday in north-east Delhi’s Seemapuri area, the police said.

The accused driver, Sudhir Kumar, 36, has been arrested from Shamli in Uttar Pradesh and his truck has been seized, said DCP (Shahdara) R. Sathiyasundaram. The arrest has been made after analysing CCTV camera footage, which showed the truck hitting an electricity pole after running over the victims, said the DCP, adding that the accused was driving negligently.

Parts of an electric pole hit by the speeding truck at Seemapuri in north-east Delhi.

Parts of an electric pole hit by the speeding truck at Seemapuri in north-east Delhi. | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

The victims have been identified as Shah Alam, 38, Chhote Khan, 25, Kareem, 52, and Rahul, 45, all scrap dealers, while Manish, 16, a ragpicker, and Pradeep, 30, a labourer, sustained injuries. According to the police, two persons died on the spot while four others were rushed to Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in Dilshad Garden in mobile patrolling vehicles. One victim was declared brought dead and another died during treatment, the police added.

Waiting outside the hospital for Chhote Khan’s body, his elder brother Mumtiaz, who works as a labourer at the Ghazipur Mandi, said his family members are still in shock as they had last seen him around 8 p.m. going out for a walk with some neighbours. “He said he might get late. I told Chhote to come home and not loiter around without a reason,” Mr. Mumtiaz said.

Eye donation

Chhote worked as a scrap dealer and earned ₹300-₹400 a day. His family of eight sustain themselves by doing odd jobs, said Mr. Mumtiaz. “Since Chhote was famous for his ‘zinda dili (large-hearted)’, we have decided to donate his eyes to a needy person,” Mr. Mumtiaz said.

Families of most of the victims said the men chose to sleep on the divider due to crammed space at home.

Hafiza Bibi, wife of Shah Alam, said her husband had stepped out for a while as he had a long day on Tuesday. He met his friends near the Seemapuri bus depot and decided to stay back.

Around 1.51 a.m., the truck speeding towards DLF T-point hit the six men sleeping on the divider while crossing the DTC depot traffic signal, said the police.

Sole breadwinner

Ms. Hafiza said she doesn’t know how to sustain her family now. “My husband was the sole breadwinner of our family of five persons,” she said.

Kareem’s son-in-law Sheikh Habibul, who was one of the first relatives to reach the spot, said, “I saw crushed bodies with organs scattered on the road. I went numb and couldn’t speak.”

He said Kareem did multiple odd jobs to sustain his family, which was under financial stress due to a recent eye surgery of his son. Kareem earned around ₹250 a day, said Mr. Habibul.

One of the injured, Manish, a resident of Harsh Vihar, said he had gone to the spot to sell his scrap. “Since it was getting late, I had dinner and slept on the divider. I had done so in the past too,” he said. The truck ran over Manish’s right hand and threw him to the other side of the divider. “It then ran over the others, hit a pole and sped away,” he said. Manish was discharged from the hospital after treatment.

One of the injured victims, Manish, 16, was discharged from hospital after treatment.

One of the injured victims, Manish, 16, was discharged from hospital after treatment. | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

A case has been registered under IPC sections 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way), 304A (causing death by negligence) and 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) against the accused driver, said the police.

According to the traffic police’s Delhi Road Crash Report 2021, an average of three persons were killed every day in the Capital in road accidents in the last two years. The majority of the victims (40%) were pedestrians — 504 dead and 1,536 injured — in road crashes last year. The figures were similar in 2020 when 505 pedestrians were killed and 1,241 were injured on the road.

Seemapuri, Shahdara, Kotwali and Paharganj were among the areas with the highest density of road crashes (number of accidents per unit area), the report stated.

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