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Maharashtra bus fire: Mass cremation of 24 bodies held in Buldhana

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BULDHANA, July 2 (PTI): A mass cremation was held on Sunday of 24 out of the 25 victims charred to death after a private bus caught fire in Maharashtra’s Buldhana district, a senior official said.

The body of one of the victims will be handed over to the family for burial, an official said earlier in the day.

As most of the victims were charred beyond recognition after the bus caught fire in the early hours of Saturday, efforts were made to convince their families for mass cremation of the bodies instead of their DNA analysis, the official said.

The DNA testing is a lengthy procedure which may take days to ascertain the identity of the deceased, as per sources.

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The mass cremation of 24 bodies was held at Vaikunth Dham Hindu Smashan Bhoomi in Buldhana on Sunday.

Relatives of the deceased and Maharashtra minister Girish Mahajan were present during the cremation and paid homage to the deceased.

The 25 passengers were charred to death as the private bus they were travelling in caught fire after hitting a divider on the Nagpur-Mumbai ‘Samruddhi Expressway’ in eastern Maharashtra’s Buldhana district at around 1.30 am on Saturday, police earlier said.

The deceased included 11 male and 14 female passengers. Ten of the victims were from Wardha, seven from Pune, four from Nagpur and two each from Yavatmal and Washim.

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The family members of the 25 deceased have reached Buldhana, according to local administration.

Eight persons, including the driver and `cleaner’ (driver’s assistant), survived the horrific accident.

A case for negligent driving was registered against the bus driver on Saturday with police believing that, prima facie, he dozed off and lost control of the vehicle.

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde has ordered a probe into the accident and announced an ex-gratia assistance of Rs 5 lakh for the families of each deceased.

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