Kolkata, Feb 15 (IANS) Three school children were killed and another injured when they were run over by a lorry in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district on Monday, police said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed sadness over the incident.
The incident sparked off violence as angry locals put up a road blockade and when police arrived, two of their jeeps were torched. One police firearm was set afire and a traffic police constable was kept confined and thrashed. Three-four policemen were injured in the violence.
The speeding lorry crushed the children, aged 5-8 years, at Mathkol on Belgharia expressway where they were waiting for a bus.
Three of the victims died on the spot, while the fourth was battling for his life in a hospital.
Police removed the road block after additional reinforcement came from Belgharia and Dum Dum police stations. The Rapid Action Force was also deployed.
“We have got information about four children. Three have died. One is injured. Police are tying to find out if there were more victims,” said Barrackpore police commissioner Neeraj Kumar Singh.
He said three-four police personnel sustained injuries in the ensuing violence.
“We will take action as per law. The accident will be investigated properly. The lorry driver is now under detention. He will be arrested. A mechanical test will be carried out on the seized lorry. The violence will also be probed,” he said.
The deputy commissioner (detective department) has been asked to conduct an inquiry.
The chief minister described the incident as tragic and said she had deputed Tourism Minister Bratya Basu and Food Minister Jyotipriypo Mallick to the spot.
Mallick claimed police were escorting the car of a person arrested in connection with a chit fund case.
“The lorry came in the middle. The police tried to stop the lorry. And this caused the accident,” he said.
The protesters said tempers shot up after police cane-charged the locals. Police, however, denied having made any cane charge.
However, the locals said the lorry — filled with sand — was travelling at breakneck speed to avoid a chasing police vehicle.
“Police regularly stops lorries and trucks on the expressway to demand money. The lorry driver was trying to escape police, one of whose jeeps was on the lorry’s trail,” claimed a witness.