Mumbai: Two schoolgirls were killed instantly when they were run over by a speeding car that belonged to a relative of local Shiv Sena leader on the Baramati-Morgaon Road, 120km from Pune, Maharashtra. A third girl was critically injured in the accident which led to protests by local residents who set the car ablaze.
It is not clear who was at the wheels when the car ran over the girls walking towards their school at around 7.30am. The driver and other occupants of the car fled from the scene without bothering to take the girls to the hospital.
The car is registered in the name of a relative of Sena leader Pappu Mane.
Angry locals set the car on fire and held a protest blocking road traffic to demand the arrest of the motorist.
The deceased girls were identified as Samiksha Vitkar, 13, and Divya Pawar, 13.
“Both the girls died instantly whilst the third girl sustained injuries and was rushed to a hospital,” a police official said, reported PTI. “According to our investigation, there were three to four people inside the car when the accident took place, but Mane was not inside the SUV. We have summoned him for questioning,” he said. The law and order situation in the area is under control, the police said.
India has a reputation for being among the top nations for road accidents. In 2016, there were more than 480,652 road accidents that claimed the lives of 150,785 people. Though the number of accidents fell by 4.1 per cent as compared to 2015, the fatalities rose by 3.2 per cent. The figures were quoted by Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari whilst releasing the annual report on Road Accidents in India-2016 last month.
Maharashtra stands fourth among 13 states which accounted for 86 per cent of the total road accidents in the country in 2016. These 13 states include Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh among others. Among the 13 states that accounted for 84 per cent of the total people killed in road accidents during this period included UP, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan and others.
Based on the data reported by police, drivers’ fault was the single most important factor responsible for road accidents, deaths and injuries. Intake of alcohol/drugs by drivers, talking on mobile phones whilst driving and poor condition of roads were other reasons for accidents.