(G.N.S) Dt. 25
Pravesh Kumar, the driver of the school bus which was pelted with stones says he took the decision not to stop in a split second.
The incident happened on Wednesday (January 24) afternoon on the Gurgaon-Alwar highway. Anti-Padmaavat protestors pelted stones at the bus as it was taking children and teachers back home.
The attack by the mob left the children shaken and the bus badly damaged. The children were from GD Goenka World School, Sohna Road.
“It happened within seconds. I saw a Haryana Roadways bus being attacked and their passengers were fleeing. I decided to keep driving because there were children sitting inside. They were like my own kids. They started to cry and were terrified,” Kumar said.
Kumar, 48, has been working with the school for 18 years. This is the first time, however, he is in the limelight for the duty he has performed daily for almost two decades.
“The teachers asked the students to crouch low and keep their heads down. They kept telling the children to stay calm. There were men on road pelting stones; I couldn’t reverse the bus as there were vehicles behind me as well. I just kept driving,” Pravesh said.
Vijendra is the conductor of the bus who ensured that the doors remained closed. Together with the teachers present he also tried to calm the students.
Vijendra is in his early 30s and has been associated with the school for eight years.
Congratulations are pouring in from the across the country for the driver and conductor. Parents of students who were in the bus called them up and expressed gratitude over phone.
Neeta Bali, the principal of the school also congratulated the driver and appreciated his presence of mind. The management of the school is planning on rewarding the driver for his bravery.
The bus was carrying around 30 students, including five foreign students, and a few teachers when it was attacked.
“Driver Kept Moving Or Worse Could Have Happened”: Gurgaon Bus Conductor
Some little children on the school bus that was attacked by a mob in Gurgaon yesterday were hurt when they had to crouch on a floor littered with broken glass, a bus employee said today.
“We gave them first aid when the bus had moved to safety,” Vijender, the conductor on the GD Goenka World School bus, told a tv channel.
There were around 30 children, mostly nursery students, when the bus was caught in protests against the film Padmaavat at Sohna Road, barely seven kilometres from the school.
“There was a traffic jam. We were trying to find out what happened. We saw a bus being burnt. The police drove out the protesters but they returned, came out of the bushes and attacked our bus,” the conductor said.
Around 60 goons threw stones and used bamboo sticks to stop the bus, the bus conductor said.
There were children on almost every seat. As a large stone hit a window in the rear, most children burst into tears. Frightened children ducked and fell onto the floor as stones came flying from all sides.
“They were very scared. The teachers tried to calm them down while keeping them safe. Some children were injured by the broken glass.”
Stones were thrown by around 60 goons who also hit the bus with bamboo sticks, trying to stop it.
Ignoring the banging, the driver manoeuvered the bus to safety. “The safety of the children was most important. We didn’t care about the damage or anything at that point. Nothing else mattered,” the conductor said, choking up with emotion.
Had the driver not kept moving, worse could have happened, he believed. Many schools in Gurgaon and Noida are shut today.
“The staff handled the situation, teachers didn’t let students panic. We are grateful to our staff who were able to tackle the situation so beautifully as they are trained for this,” said Neeta Bali, principal of the GD Goenka school.
Padmaavat released today amid violent protests by groups like Karni Sena who insist that the film hurts Rajput pride and twists the story of 14th-century Queen Padmini and Sultan Alauddin Khilji, who launched an invasion to capture her.