Ears plugged to music, bus driver hits 6-year-old

A Std I student suffers from abrasion, internal bleeding as bus hits her and then drags her along; eyewitnesses say driver couldn't hear the girl scream over his headphones

In another instance of rash driving on the part of a bus driver, a  Std I student was hit by her school bus and dragged along her for a few metres after she alighted from it near her residence in Vakola. Absurdly enough, the driver could not hear her screams: he was listening to music on his earphones.

Spot of the accident: After alighting from the school bus near her
Vakola residence, Zahraa Sheikh (below) was waiting to cross the road
when the driver knocked her down. Pics/Suresh KK

The girl suffered grievous injuries as her school bag was stuck under the bus.

Bystanders, on witnessing the incident, quickly screamed and gestured for the driver to halt the bus, as it was dragging along the victim, Zahraa Sheikh, a student of Podar School, Santacruz.

The girl was rushed to Nanavati Hospital, Vile Parle and is under observation in the CCU Paediatric ward.

According to Dr Ashok Hatolkar, medical superintendent at Nanavati Hospital, Sheikh would not be requiring any surgery.

"The patient has suffered multiple injuries and abrasions all over the body. The main concern of the doctors treating her was diagnosis of lung contusion, which results from bleeding internal tissues, due to trauma. She is responding well to medication," said Hatolkar.

Vakola police have filed a case of negligent driving against the driver and he is under police custody.

The incident
After alighting from the bus, Zahraa stood in front of the school bus waiting for her two brothers to alight and accompany her across the road. One of her brothers, meanwhile, asked the bus attendants to help them cross the road, but the latter stated that the children were old enough to cross the road and should do it on their own. But before the brother could get down, the driver started the bus and hit Sheikh.

"The girl was dragged because her bag got wedged under the bus, or else the wheel would have crushed her," said a shopkeeper from the locality, on condition of anonymity. 

Careless driver
Eyewitnesses allege that the bus driver is to be blamed for the carelessness as he was listening to music on his earphones and didn't see the girl standing in front of the stationary bus.

While some onlookers suggested that the attendant of the bus should be incriminated, as he did not help the girl cross the road.

"I don't blame the school, but the bus driver who was listening to music on his earphones while driving the bus," said Juwairiah Sheikh, mother of Zahraa. "If I am paying lakhs of rupees for the transportation of my children, I expect they be transported safely by trained drivers. My daughter is badly hurt. Her face is swollen and her eyes have turned red due to which she cannot see properly. The school authorities came to meet her in the hospital and assured us that she will be promoted to Standard II, as her exams are going on."

Meanwhile Sanjeev Lele, transport manager, Podar Schools, said, "We, at Podar International School, are deeply concerned about our student who was accidentally hurt and is now recovering at Nanavati Hospital. The school is cooperating with the authorities to find out the full facts. In the interim, the school has issued a show cause notice to the transporter and is initiating a retraining session with all bus employees. The school is in constant touch with the parents and as well as the hospital. We hope and pray that our student rejoins the school at the earliest."
� Inputs by Shailesh Bhatia

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