Speeding Car Plows Into Students in India, Killing at Least 9
NEW DELHI — At least nine children were killed and 20 others injured on Saturday after a speeding vehicle rammed a crowd outside a government school in northern India.
The crash occurred around 1:30 p.m., as children were leaving school for the day, near Muzaffarpur, in Bihar State.
“The accident happened on the road while the children were trying to cross,” Dharmendra Singh, a local official, said in an interview with Zee Hindustan, a Hindi language news channel.
Mithilesh Yadav, who saw the crash, told The Hindustan Times newspaper that the vehicle, a Bolero, had swerved to avoid another accident and hit the children. Gaurav Pandey, the deputy police superintendent for the area, told the newspaper that the Bolero’s driver had abandoned the vehicle and fled.
Local news reports speculated that the driver may have been intoxicated, even though alcohol is illegal in Bihar.
In 2016, Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar, instituted a law with maximum sentences of seven years for drinking alcohol and life in prison for making it. The ban was passed, in part, to cut down on crime and put more money in people’s pockets.
Bihar is one of India’s poorest states, with per capita income of less than $600 a year. Many men were routinely spending a good portion of that money on alcohol, further impoverishing their families.
Since the law went into effect, thousands of people have been arrested and are awaiting trial, but bootleggers have continued to operate.
“There has been no control on consumption of alcohol despite the state government’s claims of prohibition,” Munna Yadav, a local politician, told The Indian Express newspaper after the accident on Saturday.
Mr. Kumar said the families of those killed on Saturday would receive compensation of about $6,000.
Fatal road accidents are common in India, where traffic rules are loosely enforced and many vehicles do not have rear seatbelts.
On Monday, at least seven people traveling on a private bus to a marriage ceremony were killed in Bihar after the driver lost control of the vehicle, which had been speeding.
Suhasini Raj contributed reporting.