Four children were burnt alive as their school van caught fire at Longowal in Sangrur district on Saturday.
The accident took place on the Longowal-Sidsaachar road, police said, adding 12 children were in the van at the time of mishap.
While eight children were taken out safely by people working in nearby fields, four, including a girl three-year-old girl, were charred to death, officials added.
Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.
He said in a tweet: “Very sad to learn of the news from Sangrur, where we lost 4 children because their school van caught fire. Injured have been rushed to the hospital. DC & SSP Sangrur are on the spot & I have ordered a magisterial enquiry. Guilty will be strictly punished”.
Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori said: “The driver is absconding and a hunt has been launched to nab him. Preliminary reports suggest that three of the children belong to one family. The administration has been taking action against erring school van operators in the past and we will continue doing so.”
The DC told media that police had registered a case under Section 304 of IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against the school principal, its management and the owner and driver of the van.