The two deceased students have been identified as Ashok Meghwal and Panna Ram, both 15 years old. The two, along with 14 others, were returning home in a minivan belonging to a private school in Nal. Their exam centre was 15 kilometres away from their home in Kawni village.
The driver reportedly lost control, resulting in the van skidding and turning turtle. The driver and other students sustained minor injuries.
SHO Ashok Bishnoi, Naal police station, said, “The van driver suffered minor injuries but three students were critically injured. Of these, two succumbed to their injuries during treatment on Saturday evening. The third student is still in a critical state.The remaining two were given medical treatment.
“We are investigating the accident. Our team is speaking to the students and their parents. It appears to be the fault of the driver, who lost control of the vehicle. One student is still struggling for life. A case of rash driving and negligence has been registered against the driver,” added Bishnoi.
A van involved in the accident can carry up to a maximum of eight persons. In this case, the vehicle was allegedly carrying double the number of passengers.
A case has been filed against the minivan driver, Oma Ram, under sections 279 (rash driving), 304 A (causing death by negligence), 337 (endangering lives) and 338 (causing grievous hurt).
Following the accident, the district collector Kumar Pal Gautam ordered a complete inspection of all the unfit vehicles in Bikaner district. “A meeting will be held next week with police and school officials to discuss the transport facilities of the students to prevent such accidents.”
Many political leaders, including Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, state power and water minister Dr D B Kalla and MLA Govind Ram Meghwal rushed to the hospital to enquire about the well-being of students.