(Correction: An earlier version of this story said incorrectly that the woman who was screamed at is the mother of the boy. It has been updated to reflect that she is not the mother but a family member. The error is regretted.)
An official in Modinagar, Uttar Pradesh, was caught on camera screaming at a family member of the 10-year-old boy who died in a bus-related accident on Wednesday. This came amid a protest that the family members were holding against the school authorities on Thursday, 21 April, alleging that their negligence had caused the death of the boy.
"Bas, chup (enough, shut up)," Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Modinagar Shubhangi Shukla was seen screaming at the grief-stricken woman in a video, adding, "Kitni der se samjha rahi hoon (I've been explaining the matter to you for so long)."
"Was it your son?" the woman is seen asking the official in response, adding, "I have understood enough. He is silent now."
Earlier, reports said that the woman who was screamed at was the mother of the boy. However, the Ghaziabad District Magistrate has refuted this on their Twitter handle.
Anurag Bharadwaj, an 11-year-old boy, died on Wednesday, 21 April, in Ghaziabad after he put his head out of the window of a school bus and allegedly banged his head against an electricity pole. He was rushed to the hospital after the incident, where doctors declared him dead.
The class 3 student was apparently feeling nauseous when he put his head out for some fresh air, at which point the driver of the bus swerved, causing the boy to hit his head against the pole.
Bus Driver Arrested, Principal Arrested But Released
The boy's parents filed a complaint against the school authorities, alleging that their negligence had caused the death of the child. Taking cognisance of the complaint, the police filed an FIR under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 302 (murder) against the driver of the bus as well as the school authorities, The Indian Express reported.
The bus driver and the conductor were arrested by the police. The police also arrested the principal of the school but the principal was later released.
Meanwhile, Ghaziabad Superintendent of Police (SP) said that at least a day or two were required to investigate the allegations against the principal.
"If the principal and other school authorities are found guilty after our investigation, we will certainly take strict action against them," he said.
The SP also added that the police was fully cooperating with the victim's family. "From the post-mortem to the child's last rites, the police has been standing with the family throughout."
Family Blocks Ghaziabad-Meerut Highway
The family, along with several others, had blocked the Ghaziabad-Meerut highway in front of the Modinagar police station to protest against the authorities.
The family has claimed that the police released the principal after taking a bribe.
The victim's parents also said that they would continue their protest until the principal is arrested.
The family had alleged that the school had not taken proper precautions regarding the safety of children on the bus, adding that there were too many students and nobody to look after them.
However, SDM Shukla had claimed in her report that there were more seats and less students. She also said that the boy did not reach out to a teacher on the bus, as per a report by NDTV.
Bus's Fitness Certificate Expired in March 2021: Transport Office
Meanwhile, the Transport Office said that the fitness certificate of the bus had expired on 7 March 2021. Along with this, the pollution certificate also expired on 11 March this year.
The Regional Transport Office (RTO) had also blacklisted the bus in October 2021.
A representative of the RTO said, "We had given notice to the school twice in this regard. Yet the school allowed the bus to run. Here the question arises that if the school allowed the blacklisted bus to run, then why did the transport office not take any action?"
CM Adityanath Assures 'Strict Action'
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has sought a report regarding the incident, and has said that action will be taken against those responsible. The chief minister also ordered fitness checks to be conducted on school buses to ensure complete safety.
"Strict action will taken against those responsible," CM Adityanath said while offering condolences to the boy's family.
(With inputs from The Indian Express and NDTV.)