A 14-year-old girl was killed and her mother seriously injured when they allegedly jumped off a moving bus to avoid a group of molesters in Punjab?s Moga district, police said on Thursday, highlighting the lack of security for women in public transport.
Television reports said the driver and cleaner of the bus have been arrested. The bus was being operated by a transport company called Orbit Aviation, which is owned by the Badal family.
On reports that the bus belonged to the Orbit company, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said: "I never took interest (in the Orbit company affairs). I don't know anything about the transport company and have never been to its office". He said the incident was "very unfortunate" and promised swift action against the guilty even as he insisted he "never took interest" in the company's affairs and had "never visited its office".
The incident took place on Wednesday evening near Gill village in Moga, over 150 km from capital Chandigarh.
The girl, a Class 9 student and her mother had boarded the bus in Moga town but were targeted by a group of male passengers who allegedly passed obscene remarks at them.
Agency reports quoting eyewitnesses said both the mother and daughter were subjected to molestation and lewd remarks by some youth and the bus staff after they boarded it.
The girl and her mother raised an alarm and even complained to the driver, who allegedly did not respond, according to police.
When both of them, travelling with a boy, tried to get off the bus, the driver allegedly increased the speed.
As their cries for help went unheeded, the mother-daughter duo jumped off the moving bus.
?No one in the bus came to the rescue of the victims. There were not many passengers in the bus when the incident happened,? an eyewitness is said to have told police.
The girl was declared brought dead by doctors while the mother has been admitted to a government hospital in Moga.
Senior superintendent of police Jatinder Singh Khaira said a case has been registered and the bus has been impounded.
?We are investigating the matter and trying to nab the accused,? a police officer told media on Wednesday night.
The incident revived memories of the December 16, 2012 gang rape of a paramedic student in a moving bus in Delhi, an incident which had seen the government announce several steps for higher security for women in public transport.