New Delhi - Two teenaged boys died in northern India after a team of policemen allegedly refused to take them to hospital fearing their injuries would stain their vehicle seats, officials and news reports said on Saturday.
The incident comes amid calls for police reform in India where an overburdened and poorly trained force has been accused of being insensitive to victims they need to assist.
"Three personnel have been suspended pending an enquiry into the incident," KS Emmanuel, deputy inspector general of police in India's Uttar Pradesh state, said.
Two boys, thought to be around 17 years old, were returning home on a motorbike in the Setia Vihar area of Saharanpur late Friday when they hit an electric pole and fell into a deep drain alongside the road, additional superintendent of police Prabal Pratap Singh said.
Hearing the teenagers' screams, local residents rushed to the scene, pulled them out and dialled the emergency number for police.
"It came to our notice that PRB 970 (police patrol vehicle) reached the spot and refused to take the youth to the hospital. An enquiry has been ordered," Singh said.
The locals took the boys to hospital in an auto-rickshaw but they died on the way, the Hindustan Times reported citing eyewitnesses.
An unverified video of the incident shared on WhatsApp shows a young man crying and pleading with the police to take the accident victims to hospital, with the officers refusing and then leaving.
"Where will we sit the whole night if our vehicle gets dirty?" one of the policemen is heard asking on the video.
"Brother, his body is getting cold, please do something," the friend is heard saying.
"We will take disciplinary action as soon as the enquiry report comes in," Singh said. "In the interim, three policemen deployed with the 100 helpline have been suspended."