Van tragedy toll 31; residents protest
Most victims women and children
Police resort to caning and bursting of tear gas to disperse protesters
The toll in the tragedy involving a van that fell into a tank rose to 31, with four more bodies being taken out of the Undabattikere, even as residents of the village close to the tank blocked traffic on the Nanjangud Road, protesting the dilapidated condition of the road.
The bodies have been identified as those of Mahadevamma (45), Nagarathnamma (45), Ningamma (65) and the lone male on board the ill-fated van, Narayana Gowda (55).
The bodies of the women were found floating in the morning and were recovered. That of Gowda was taken out in the afternoon. The fire force personnel have called off the retrieval operation lasting more than 16 hours.
In the morning, police who were facilitating the retrieval of the bodies resorted to a mild lathi-charge after about 150 protesters, who were demanding immediate repair of the road, blocked traffic for about 30 minutes and pelted stones at the moving vehicles.
Additional Superintendent of Police, P Venkataswamy and Deputy Superintendent of Police C D Jagadish rushed to the spot and tried to convince the agitators to call off their strike.
In the melee, a protester threw a sandal at the police personnel and pelted stones at the police.
Police then resorted to a lathi-charge and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the mob.
The front glass pane of an autorikshaw was damaged in the stone throwing. Six police personnel received minor injuries. The police seized 30 two-wheelers and an autorickshaw reportedly belonging to the agitators.
Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah, who visited the accident spot, directed the police not to book any case against the protesters.
A platoon of KSRP platoon has been deployed at Kadakola as a precautionary measure.
Mysore South Police have registered a case.
Rights panel files suo motu case
The Karnataka State Human Rights Commission has registered a suo motu case in connection with the Undabatti tank accident near Mysore.
Chairperson Dr S R Nayak, who paid a surprise visit to Kolar district hospital on Wednesday, told reporters that the Commission had recommended to the Government for ex gratia payment of Rs five lakh each to the families of the deceased and Rs one lakh to those injured.
He said proper and safe roads were integral to human rights and several recommendations on the issue had “gone in vain.”