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20 pilgrims killed in Gujarat
Ahmedabad, Jun 9 (Agencies):
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Published on 9 Jun. 2011 11:25 PM IST
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Twenty pilgrims were killed early on Thursday near a Gujarat town when a truck ploughed into them while they were sleeping by the wayside, police said.
The pilgrims were on their way to a shrine beyond Dholka, about 80 km from here. The dead include nine women and two children, sub-inspector K.V. Jhala of Bagodra police station said. Six people were injured in the accident.
Ahmedabad range Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ashish Bhatia said the gruesome accident occurred around 2.30 a.m.
The pilgrims were walking their way from Sabarkantha district in north Gujarat to the shrine of Hazrat Pir Syed Mahmood Shah Bukhari and stopped for some time to rest and sleep. The top cop said initial enquiries revealed that the accident occurred when the truck’s driver lost control following a tyre burst.
“The driver is absconding. While the bodies have been sent to the Dholka hospital for post-mortem examination, the injured have been rushed to the Municipal Hospital in Ahmedabad,” he said.
Said Irshad Khan from near Palanpur in north Gujarat, who was injured: “We chose to catch a few hours of sleep after walking the long distance when the wails and shrieks of people woke me up.”
“I am the luckier of the lot and got away with minor injuries,” he added.
Government spokesperson and state Health Minister Jay Narayan Vyas said a compensation of Rs.one lakh is being paid to next of kin of the dead from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
“The injured will get Rs.25,000 and arrangement is being made to transport the bodies of the deceased to their homes,” he added.
Pilgrims from parts of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh walk all the way to the shrine of Hazrat Pir Syed Mahmood Shah Bukhari for the annual urs to seek the saint’s blessings.

 
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