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8 Bihar residents among 10 killed after SUV falls into gorge in J&K

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NewsDrum Desk
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Banihal/Jammu, Mar 29 (PTI) Ten people, including eight from Bihar, were killed after an SUV skidded off the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and fell into a gorge in Ramban district on Friday, officials said.

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The vehicle, a Tavera, was on its way to Jammu from Srinagar and it fell into a 300-foot gorge at the Battery Cheshma area of the district around 1.15 am, they said.

The bodies of nine passengers and the car's driver have been retrieved, they said.

The driver of the vehicle was Balwan Singh (47) of Amb Ghrotha in Jammu while one of the passengers -- Sandeep -- was from Maharajganj in Uttar Pradesh. The remaining eight occupants hailed from Bihar's West Champaran, officials said.

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They were identified as Raju Kumar, Avadhesh Bin, Belas Bin, Indrajit Bin, Bipin Mukhiya, Raj Kumar Bin, Hari Bin, and Rajan Mukhiya.

The operation to retrieve the bodies was carried out by police and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel amid heavy rains in the area and ended at around 1.30 pm, they said.

Senior officials, including Ramban Deputy Commissioner Baseer Ul Haq Choudhary, Ramban Senior Superintendent of Police Anuj Kumar and Deputy Inspector General of Police in Doda-Kishtwar-Ramban Range Shridhar Patil visited the site.

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According to officials, an FIR under relevant sections has been registered and a probe has been launched in the case.

In a post on X, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief about the accident and extended his condolences to the bereaved families.

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund would be given to the next of kin of each of the deceased.

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President Droupadi Murmu mourned the loss of lives in the road accident and conveyed her condolences to the bereaved families.

"The news of people getting killed after a vehicle fell into a gorge in the Ramban area on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is very sad. I offer my condolences to the bereaved families," Murmu said in a post in Hindi on X.

Union Minister and Udhampur MP Jitendra Singh in a post on X said, "My sincere condolences to the bereaved families".

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"Spoke to Ramban Deputy Commissioner Baseer-ul-Haq after learning about the tragic road accident in which a passenger taxi rolled down a deep gorge on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway near Battery Chashma leading to loss of 10 lives," Singh said.

In his condolence message, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said, "I am deeply shocked to learn of the unfortunate road accident in Ramban today, in which precious lives have been lost. I send my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families." Political parties in Kashmir too expressed grief over the accident with National Conference president Farooq Abdullah urging the administration to reach out to the affected families with adequate relief and compensation.

Party's vice president Omar Abdullah said the promised four-lane highway must be completed at the earliest so that the people can undertake their journeys with the assurance of greater safety.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, Democratic Progressive Azad Party chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad, Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari, Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone and CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami too expressed condolences to the families of those who lost their lives. PTI COR AB SSB RHL

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