Ten people, including four women and two children, were killed in a head-on collision between a cement-laden truck and an autorickshaw while returning from Chhath Puja celebrations in Assam’s Karimganj district on Thursday, police said.
The accident took place on the Assam-Tripura highway at Baithakhal in Patharkandi area of the district. Nine autorickshaw passengers died on the spot, while one later succumbed to the injuries at a hospital, a police officer said.
The autorickshaw driver died in the accident while the truck driver fled the spot with the vehicle, he said, adding that a manhunt has been launched to nab him.
Irate locals blocked the highway and demanded the immediate arrest of the driver. A huge police contingent has been rushed to the spot.
The deceased, all residents of Longai tea garden in Patharkandi, have been identified as Duja Bai Panika, Shalu Bai Panika, Gaurab Das Panika, Lalan Goswami, Sambhu Das Panika, Puja Gaur, Dev Gaur, Mangali Karmakar, Topu Karmakar and the autorickshaw driver Sonuri.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma expressed deep grief over the accident and announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 1 lakh each to the next of the kin of the deceased.
He also directed the district administration to extend all possible help to the family members of the deceased in their hour of grief, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said.