Train Hits School Bus, Kills 13 Children

Kushinagar accident PM Narendra Modi Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath condole the death of 13 children probe initiated

The chief minister, who visited Kushinagar, reportedly lost his cool and asked the protesting crowd not to do "nautanki" [drama] at the accident site. "Abhi bhimein bol raha hoon.Nautanki bankdkareinaap log", the chief minister can be heard saying in a video that has gone viral. It is being reported that he tried to speed past the unmanned level crossing but the van somehow got stuck on the tracks.

The protesters demanded that railway personnel should be posted at the unmanned crossing to avoid such accidents.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Kushinagar district, Akhilesh Kumar told IANS that one child and the driver of the van were in critical condition.

An official said that the Chief Minister ordered that school vehicles across the state be checked on whether they were following the guidelines prescribed for such vehicles.

The children, aged between five and 14, were on their way to school after the bus had picked them up from several villages. The train was on way to Gorakhpur from Siwan. The children, students of Divine Public School, were killed on the spot when the Thawe-Kapatanganj passenger train crashed into the van at the unmanned crossing gate at Behpurva, said Railways spokesman Ved Prakash.

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Earlier in the day, Yogi had assured strict action against those responsible for the mishap and also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakhs to the family of deceased.

After inspecting the site, Adityanath had said that prima facie the van driver appeared to be at fault.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said an inquiry had been ordered and his ministry would pay 200,000 rupees ($3,000) to the families of those killed.

The tragic crash is the second major accident involving school children in a just over two weeks. India has vowed to upgrade unattended railway crossings next year to reduce fatal accidents.

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