RELATIVES are holding a bedside vigil for the young Southampton girl who lost both her parents in a coach crash in India.

Ananya Nawarkhele has already suffered the ordeal of the horrific crash but is yet to learn that the tragedy killed both her mother and father.

Family at the seriously ill nine-year-old’s bedside are waiting until she recovers from her injuries until they break the news.

They have also made a heartfelt plea for people to keep the little girl in their prayers.

The youngster’s parents, Roopesh, 38, and Kavita, 37, were killed instantly when the coach they were travelling in overturned after colliding with a car in the Punjab region in the early hours of Saturday.

Ananya is in a hospital near Chandigarh and is being treated for injuries to her ribs and abdomen, while doctors discuss whether to move her to Delhi.

Yesterday, Kavita’s cousin Geeta Sharma, said: “We are devastated and shocked at the accident.

“There were so many people travelling on that bus and they were the ones who lost their lives.”She said that Ananya had regained consciousness and her condition is improving and added: “She is much better.

“She is asking for her parents but we have not told her as it would be a problem with her recovery. We have just told her they are in the next ward, but she is curious.

“We ask that people pray for her.”

Daily Echo:

Kavita and Roopesh Nawarkhele

The couple, who lived in Bitterne, were well known members of Southampton’s Hindu community and had travelled to India to visit family.

Roopesh worked as a senior social worker in the city council’s children’s services department after settling in Britain in 2007.

Kavita previously worked as deputy manager of Sunshine Day Nursery in Shirley and presented shows on radio station Unity 101.

Yesterday, flags flewat half mast at Southampton City Council as a mark of respect to the couple.

Daily Echo:

The flag flying at half mast at Southampton City Council

Chief executive Dawn Baxendale said colleagues were “deeply saddened” and added: “Roopesh was a much loved and highly respected member of our children's services team.

“His dedication and commitment to the children in the city was second to none. Both he and his wife were actively involved with a number of community groups in the city.

“Our team has lost an outstanding social worker and our thoughts remain with the couple's daughter and their family.”

Three students, studying in Chandigarh, died when the car they were travelling struck the coach, and 15 other bus passengers were injured including the driver.

He has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and bailed pending further enquiries.