Four students drown during school picnic in Punjab (Lead)

June 10th, 2009 - 12:23 am ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, June 9 (IANS) Four children on a school trip drowned Tuesday when a girl fell into the the Beas river in Punjab and three of her classmates tried to save her, police said.
Nidhi, a Class 10 student of Star Public School, lost her balance and fell into the river. Three of her classmates - Shilpa, Shehnaz and Vikrant - tried to save her but they too were swept away in the current.

Nidhi’s classmate Himani told IANS, “We had come here for a picnic. We had just reached the spot when suddenly we heard Nidhi’s shrieks and saw her struggling in the river.”

The three tried to catch her hand and help her out but they also lost their balance and fell into the river.

The Class 8, 9 and 10 students were on a picnic to a spot close to Naushera-Pattan village near Mukerian in Hoshiarpur district, 200 km from state capital Chandigarh, on the last working day of the school before summer vacations. The school is situated in Mukerian.

“There were around 30 students who went on this recreation trip. It was organised by the school authorities and the students were taken in the school’s own bus without taking any consent from the parents,” Dharambir Singh, deputy superintendent of police of Mukerian, told IANS.

Singh said a case has been registered against the school administration, principal and the owner of the school. Three teachers were being questioned, he added.

Shilpa’s father Tarsem Lal, who works in Indian Railways, told IANS: “It was a big shock for my family as we were not aware about any such trip. It is just due to the negligence of the school authorities that we have lost our daughter.”

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also the home minister, expressed shock and grief over the tragedy.

The state government announced compensation of Rs.100,000 to the family of each of the four students.

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