PATNA: The Bihar bus fire incident has now turned out to be the biggest mystery. Barely a day after confirming death of 27 passengers in the bus fire, the state government has taken a complete U-turn saying no one died in the incident.
The government claims no bodies or even their charred remains have been found in the bus even as the bus was reduced to ashes such was the intensity of fire, adding to the confusion.
“The information of deaths was wrong. Yes, I said 27 people have died, it was based on info from local sources but I also said that only final report will be considered,” Bihar disaster management minister Dinesh Chandra Yadav told reports today.
“There was booking for 13 people. Eight were taken to the hospital by authorities, there was no sign of remaining five, no remains were found. They might have left the spot on their own,” the minister tried to explain his point.
Yesterday the minister had said the bus was carrying 32 passengers but today he said there were only 13 passengers on board. Also, he doesn’t talks about the two drivers, a conductor and a cleaner who was also travelling on the bus but the minister has no clues about their whereabouts.
The bus coming from Muzaffapur town was on way to Delhi when it skidded off the road and fell into a road-side and caught fire.
The backtrack comes after all top politicians in the country—from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Nitish Kumar to many of his cabinet colleagues—had expressed their condolences over the “death” of passengers.
The stream of condolences followed as the confirmation of death of 27 passengers was made by none other than disaster management minister Yadav himself.
In the next few minutes, every top politician in the country was on Twitter, expressing grief over the Bihar bus tragedy.
“My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones due to a bus accident in Motihari. I pray that the injured recover at the earliest,” the Prime Minister tweeted on Thursday shortly after the news of death of passengers came in.
My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones due to a bus accident in Motihari. I pray that the injured recover at the earliest: PM @narendramodi
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) May 3, 2018
The Bihar chief too didn’t lag behind. “Motihari mein Muzaffarpur se Delhi ja rahi bus durghatna mein logon ki mrityu atyanat dukhad (it is extremely sad to learn about the deaths of passengers travelling from Muzaffarpur to Delhi at Motihari),” the chief minister tweeted, while also announcing compensation to the victim families. Not only that, he also observed one-minute silence at the “deaths” of passengers in the incident.
मोतिहारी में मुजफ्फरपुर से दिल्ली जा रही बस दुर्घटना में लोगों की मृत्यु अत्यंत दुखद। दुर्घटना में मृत बिहार के लोगों के परिजनों को आर्थिक सहायता दी जाएगी तथा घायलों के समुचित इलाज का निर्देश दिया गया।https://t.co/vfpXCCr2oq
— Nitish Kumar (@NitishKumar) May 3, 2018
Then came his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi who looked saddened by the death. “Very saddened by news of bus accident in Champaran in Bihar.Casuality may go up to 24 or more .Air conditioned bus was going from Muz to Delhi,” Modi tweeted. However, his party colleague and health minister Mangal Pandey corroborated the death of 27 passengers in his condolence message issued to the media yesterday.
Very saddened by news of bus accident in Champaran in Bihar.Casuality may go up to 24 or more .Air conditioned bus was going from Muz to Delhi.
— Chowkidar Sushil Kumar Modi (@SushilModi) May 3, 2018
“Health minister Mangal Pandey expressed deep grief over death of 27 passengers in bus accident and prayed may the God give the victims’ families the strength to face the tragedy with patience at this hour of crisis,” Pandey said in a written condolence message sent to the media.
But it was different story today. From the disaster management minister and disaster management secretary Pratayay Amrit to Motihari DM Raman Kumar everybody went on saying that “No one was killed in the bus fire as no body or their remains have been found inside”.