The news reports of the death of more than 38 students from Rajouri district in a road mishap near Pir Ki Gali in Poonch district, created panic in Manjakot, Rajouri and other major towns on Thursday. However, it turned out to be a hoax later, much to the relief of people who were fervently praying for the safety of the children.
The initial information, which was also confirmed by the Rajouri Deputy Commissioner, said a bus carrying students from Gareeb Nawaz School, Manjakot, for a picnic at Pir Ki Gali in Poonch district, has met with an accident and more than 38 students HAVE died on the spot.
The Deputy Commissioner, in his two messages to the media, said, “Report of accident was confirmed by police but yet to ascertain from spot about losses. No confirmation about any major loss.”
The rumour of the accident spread like a wild fire and people started looking for information on social media with some also uploading fake photos of the bus and the injured.
“The news (that later turned to be hoax) started from Manjakot where parents received call about the accident of a vehicle carrying students,” a senior journalist said.
Aggrieved parents and relatives rushed to the accident site in whatever vehicle they could manage from Manjakot town and Rajouri.
Ambulances from Surankot hospital were also rushed to Pir Ki Gali and the locals accompanied them to provide every possible relief to the victims, if need be. An alert was also sounded at district hospital, Rajouri.
“Ambulances have been kept on standby at Manjakot hospital and at District Hospital to meet any medical emergency,” said CMO Dr Suresh Gupta, but didn’t confirm about the fatalities/injuries.
Later when Kashmir Post contacted Tamina Bitool, a teacher who was accompanying the students from Greeb Nawaz School to the picnic, it turned out to be false news and people took a sigh of relief.
Tamina said, “Somebody has spread the rumour about the accident involving the bus which we had hired for the picnic. My father along with relatives and parents of the students rushed to purported accident site.
He succeeded in contacting me on phone and the truth came to light,” she said.
“The main reason behind delay in the confirming that it was a hoax was the lack of any communication facility on Mughal Road between Chandimarh and Pir Ki Gali,” said a senior officer at Rajouri.
“The district administration has identified some suspects who spread the rumour and created panic in two districts,” DC Shahid Iqbal Choudhry said.
Meanwhile, Authorities on Friday ordered a magisterial probe over a rumour that a school bus was believed to have met with an accident in Jammu’s Rajouri district. Also read: Reports about death of 38 students in Poonch mishap a hoax
On Thursday, the Gareeb Nawaz Academy school bus was carrying 45 persons on a picnic from Manjakot in Poonch to Peer Ki Gali on the Mughal Road that connects Rajouri with Shopian district in the Kashmir Valley. The school is based in Poonch.
High panic gripped Manjakot when the “news” spread that at least 40 school children were feared dead when the bus fell into a deep gorge in Rajouri.
Authorities in Rajouri had rushed ambulances and rescue teams to the spot, but there was no trace of the supposed accident.
District Magistrate Rajouri, Shahid Iqbal in a tweet later on Thursday confirmed that there was no accident.