4 children killed as school van catches fire in Punjab

The van was a condemned one and without relevant documents: police

Updated - February 16, 2020 07:43 am IST

Published - February 16, 2020 01:48 am IST - CHANDIGARH

Police personnel in Sangrur on Saturday stand next to the vehicle in which four children were burnt alive.

Police personnel in Sangrur on Saturday stand next to the vehicle in which four children were burnt alive.

Four children were on Saturday burnt alive while eight others were rescued after the mini-van of a private school caught fire in Longowal town of Punjab’s Sangrur.

Twelve children were inside the van when the incident occurred on the Longowal-Sidsamachar road. The children were returning from school, said a senior official.

Eight rescued

“Today, early afternoon, a van of Simran School, Longowal, caught fire while carrying 12 children from school. While eight were rescued and are safe, four children could not be saved, who died on the spot,” Sangrur’s Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori told The Hindu .

“The van being used was reportedly a condemned one and without relevant documentation. An FIR is being lodged. Action will also be taken against transport officials, if any one is found to be involved,” he said.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has ordered a magisterial enquiry into the incident.

Taking to Twitter, Capt. Amarinder said, “Very sad to learn of the news from Sangrur where we lost 4 children because their school van caught fire. Injured have been rushed to the hospital. DC and SSP Sangrur are on the spot and I have ordered a magisterial enquiry. Guilty will be strictly punished.”

State Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla, who is also the Sangrur MLA, said the private ‘Simran Public School’ had purchased the “very old van” on Friday. He also announced an ex gratia of ₹5 lakh to each of the victims’ families.

AAP MLA and Leader of the Opposition in State Assembly Harpal Singh Cheema demanded strict against the school and civil administration. “My condolences to the families of deceased children. I highly condemn the usage of LPG powered school van that has caused this havoc. Strict action needed against school and civil administration,” he tweeted.

Sangrur MP and AAP leader Bhagwant Mann demanded registration of murder case against school officials and owner of the van. He said the victims included a three-year-old girl who went to school for the first time.

(With PTI inputs)

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