“Nautanki Bandh Karein Aaplog”: CM Yogi Tells Crowd Protesting Death Of 13 Children In Unmanned Crossing
April 27th, 2018
Image Credit: Financial Express
13 children were killed and many others injured in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar when a train crashed into a school van carrying 25 children. The unfortunate incident took place 50 km from Gorakhpur at around 7 am in the morning, killing 13 students of the Divine Public School on the spot and leaving seven others critically injured.
Thousands had gathered in Kushinagar to protest the death of students. CM Yogi Adityanath visited the crowd on Thursday morning, telling distressed parents and protesters, “Nautanki Bandh Karein Aaplog (Stop the drama ).”
Shocking: UP CM Yogi Adityanath loses his cool in Kushinagar, instructs protesting crowd not to do "NAUTANKI". "Nautanki band karein aaplog". Dear Mahant ji, they have lost their kids, the least they van expect from you is sympathy, if not a promise to better things in ur state. pic.twitter.com/WKiR5Djvq2
— Prashant Kumar (@scribe_prashant) April 26, 2018
The train was on its way to Gorakhpur from Siwan when it met with the accident. A railway spokesperson, as per a News18 report said, “It was unmanned level crossing gate at Behpurva, with Gate Mitra deployed there. He tried to stop but unfortunate incident happened at unmanned gate 45 near Dudhi station in Banaras division.”
The wounded students and faculty were rushed to a district hospital 30 ks from the site. Most of the children were below 10 years of age.
As reported by News18, CM Adityanath announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of the deceased and ordered the immediate suspension of Basic Education Officer, Block Education Officers of Kushinagar and Dudhi. He also ordered for suspension of Road Transport Officer and the Passenger Tax Officer.
Protesters, mainly parents of the children, were seen shouting slogans during the chief minister’ visit, demanding that the compensation be raised to Rs 50 lakh.
CM Adityanath later met the aggrieved families and blamed the accident on the driver’s negligence. “I am told that the school van driver was wearing earphones while driving… this is a case of pure negligence”, he told the NDTV.
The DSP also blamed the driver for the accident, adding that the bus was overloaded. He also said that the exact number of children in the bus are yet to be ascertained.
Meanwhile, Railway Board chairman Ashwini Lohani said that all unmanned railway crossings in the country will either be closed or be converted to manned crossings, reported Firstpost.
We are trying to eliminate unmanned level crossings: Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani in Delhi pic.twitter.com/GiqsYQblww
— ANI (@ANI) April 26, 2018
An FIR has been registered against the driver of the van and principal of the school who was arrested earlier for running it without without valid registration.
The Logical Indian take
Suspension of officers, although on the outset might seem justified, is merely a band-aid-solution to a more substantial systemic problem. As of now, there are 3,479 unmanned level crossings all over India, and the government has promised to eliminate all of these by March 2020. Only time will tell if the Railway Board chairman’s promises are hollow or action will genuinely be taken.
Further, the Chief Minister losing his cool reflects poorly on his ability as a leader. In a democracy, citizens have the right to demand answers from the government and the chief minister, with a threatening tone, cannot call their grievances drama.