A day after four children were killed as their school van caught fire in Punjab’s Sangrur, the driver and school principal have been arrested, the police said.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Sukhbinder Pal Singh said the two were arrested on murder charges after a complaint was filed by a child’s father.
“The complainant has stated that the school principal and driver had been warned about the condition of an auto-rickshaw in which the children were taken to school. They provided a van but it wasn’t safe either. They deliberately endangered the lives of children,” he added.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) , the top Sikh religious body, has announced Rs 1 lakh compensation for the families of the children. SGPC chief Gobind Singh Longowal demanded strict action against those responsible for the deaths.
The children, who were charred to death inside the vehicle, included a three-year-old girl going to school for the first time, the police said.
The van, that was fitted with an LPG cylinder, was bought by the school authorities on Friday, just a day before the fire.
After the incident, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh directed officials to conduct safety checks of all school buses.
Twelve children were in the van at the time of the fire. While eight children were rescued from the burning van by people working in nearby fields, four of them were burnt alive.