Sarojini sits in the crowded hospital lobby, sobbing quietly. In the morning, like every day for the past one month, the homemaker from Islampur had readied her daughter Vaishnavi for school, combed her hair, packed a few snacks in the tiffin box and saw her off to the school.
And hardly an hour had passed when the news of the school bus being mowed down by Nanded passenger train at Masaipet crossing, came shattering to her.
At Yashoda Hospital in Secunderabad along with the families of other students of Kakatiya Techno School, Toopran, Sarojini waits for some news of her 11-year-old Vaishnavi.
“My only daughter is too young to suffer. I do not know how bad her injuries are,” she says, vainly trying to control her sobs.
“How is my grandson Sadbhaavan Das. He is just three years old,” pleads a dishevelled Krishna with every staff member of the hospital that he comes across. “My wife took the boy to the bus and saw him off in the morning,” the teary-eyed elderly man from Ellapur says. “I waved at him and Sadbhaavan was cheerful as usual. Is he all right?” he asks.
It was a heart-rendering scene at the Yashoda Hospital which received 22 injured students among whom two were pronounced as brought dead. Family members, friends and relatives of the injured from nearby villages flocked the hospital in large numbers by noon and when the news of two bodies being shifted to Gandhi Hospital mortuary broke, panic spread among all.
“Who are these two?” a worried D. Ramulu went around enquiring. His sons Abhinand (9) and Sharat (6) were in the bus and the farmer from Gundredpally village took time to be convinced that his children were being treated at the hospital. “Nobody is informing about the condition of our children,” he complained bitterly.
Another farmer from the same village, Chintala Ramulu, kept cursing himself for choosing the bus to send his son, 12-year-old Karunakar, to school. “I helped him into the bus today morning and I regret it,” he cries.
By afternoon, politicians of all hues started descending on the hospital to express their grief over the ghastly incident and the police promptly threw a security cordon. A small group of youngsters from NGOs gathered in front of the hospital holding placards and shouted slogans against the accident.
Telugu Desam city chief T. Srinivas Yadav, BJP State president G. Kishan Reddy, film actor and Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan and a group of Ministers including Home Minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy and Deputy Chief Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali visited the hospital.
According to Mr. Narasimha Reddy, of the 20 students undergoing treatment here, six were on ventilator, four were in extremely critical condition, three were described as critical and seven declared out of danger.