At least 13 children were killed and eight others were critically injured on April 26 at around 7 am, when the van of Divine Public School which was carrying 25 students passed through the crossing and collided with a speeding train. The van was badly crushed in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar, which is about 50 km from Gorakhpur.
An official said that 13 children were killed on the spot and seven are critically injured. The wounded children and staff were taken to a hospital around 30 km from the accident site.
The official also claimed that a person who alerted commuters about approaching trains at unmanned crossings also tried to stop the van but it was already too late.
“He (the driver) didn’t pay any heed, this is a case of pure negligence,” said a railways spokesperson.
State Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has expressed deep condolences on the incident and has announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of the deceased. He also instructed top officials of Gorakhpur to conduct a strict inquiry into the incident.
Demanding compensation to be raised to Rs 50 lakh, locals are expressing anger and started protesting near Dudahi. They also want a manned railway crossing at the accident site.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind have expressed grief over the incident.
PM Modi tweeted “I am extremely saddened on hearing about the death of 11 school students in a collision between a school van and a train in Uttar Pradesh’s #Kushinagar . UP Government and railway dept will take appropriate action.”