A 17-year-old girl trafficked from Siliguri in north Bengal died when the police vehicle in which she was being brought home after a rescue spun out of control and fell into a roadside ditch full of water.
Her mother, an uncle and the police sub-inspector leading the rescue team were also killed in the accident early this morning at Gokshadanga in Cooch Behar district, 180 km from Siliguri.
The young man who had allegedly "abducted" the girl and was arrested by Siliguri police in the "rescue operation" in the Sahebganj police station area of Cooch Behar district, was also in the vehicle, the police said. He was injured and taken to hospital, along with two other police persons who were also wounded.
The driver of the vehicle, which was a private vehicle provided by an NGO in Siliguri to the police rescue team, fled, according to the police.
On Wednesday evening, Sub Inspector Biswaajit Das led a rescue team in a car provided by an NGO Amader Udyog in search of a minor girl at Sahebganj. The girl's family had filed a police complaint at the Pradhan Nagar PS, Siliguri, about the 17-year-old being kidnapped.
On their way back to Siliguri, around 7:15 am, the driver, who was driving at 70-80 km an hour, swerved to avoid a dog that suddenly appeared in front, lost control of the vehicle which fell into a roadside ditch that had 5 to 6 feet of water in it. The driver managed to get out, flag down a truck and flee. Locals informed a police patrol and rushed to the rescue.
Sub Inspector Biswajit Das, who was injured, remembers very little. "We left the Sahebganj police station around 4:30 am with the recovered minor and the accused. The driver suddenly lost control. I can't remember anything after that," he said.
Locals at the accident site were shocked by the tragedy that befell the young girl and her family and wondered what would happen to the case of alleged "abduction" when the victim was no more. Sources suggested it was perhaps a case of elopement rather than kidnapping.