A devastating road accident claimed ten lives and injured approximately 55 others when a bus rolled down a gorge on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway near Jhajjar Kotli on Tuesday. The bus was overloaded with passengers en route to Katra from Amritsar.
According to Jammu Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Chandan Kohli, the bus was carrying 75 passengers, exceeding its legal limit. Tragically, all the deceased hailed from Bihar. The police reported that those aboard the bus were on their way to participate in a ‘mundan’ ceremony, a traditional Hindu ritual, for a child. They had planned to proceed to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine for a pilgrimage after the ceremony.
“The rescue operation is almost complete. An SDRF team is also present on the spot. The bus was carrying more passengers than the prescribed limit, and this aspect will be probed during the investigation,” stated SSP Kohli. Injured passengers were promptly transferred to a hospital in Jammu for immediate medical attention.
The incident, which occurred near the Mansa Mata temple, seemed to result from the bus driver losing control, causing a collision with a pole and the subsequent disastrous fall into the gorge. Authorities have initiated a search operation at the accident site to ensure no survivors are overlooked.
Reacting to the tragedy, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha expressed profound grief and directed the district administration to ensure all possible assistance is provided to the injured. “Extremely pained by the loss of lives in a tragic bus accident in Jhajjar Kotli, Jammu. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and prayers for a speedy recovery of the injured,” Sinha wrote in a tweet.
Road safety remains a significant concern in India, where overloaded vehicles and challenging terrains often lead to tragic accidents. This incident underscores the urgent need for stringent enforcement of safety regulations to prevent such avoidable mishaps in the future.