Unstitched Bodies Of Children Who Died In Kushinagar Accident Returned To Parents
May 2nd, 2018
The Uttar Pradesh government is once again in news for demonstrating utter insensitivity toward the death of children in the state. Parents of two brothers – one 8-year-old and another 10-year-old – who were among the 13 children who died in the Kushinagar accident, received ‘unstitched’ bodies of their wards.
Kushinagar District Hospital was given the responsibility of conducting post-mortem on the 13 children of Divine Mission School who died after their school van collided with a passenger train in an unmanned level crossing. A family still mourning their children’s death, trying to overcome an irrecoverable loss, were left grief-stricken when UP health department officials handed over dead bodies of the kids with their stomachs open. This was discovered after the sealed bodies were opened to be given a funeral bath before being buried, reported Newsclick.
This comes after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited Kushinagar last week. To the crowd of thousands protesting the deaths of students, the CM said, “This is a tragedy and I ask you to stop creating a ruckus. Note what I’m saying, ye nautanki band kardo (stop with the drama)”. However, the CMO clarified that the statement was not directed at grieving parents.
Investigations into Divine Mission School found that it is unrecognised for the last four year and its van has been ferrying children without registration or permit. It was allegedly a neighbouring school that gave transfer certificates to students of Divine Mission School, reported The Indian Express.
State administration, central government and the police have blamed negligence on part of the school and van driver for the deaths.
The principal and manager of the school, K J Khan, has been arrested. The driver of the van has been booked under the IPC sections 279 (rash driving), 337 (endangering the life of others), 304 (culpable homicide) and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy). Allegedly, a nearby school gave transfer certificates to students of Divine Mission School.
According to reports, driver Niyaz Ansari got his driving licence just over a month ago. The Supreme Court had ruled that only drivers with at least five years of experience can drive school vehicles.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said on the death of children, as reported by The Indian Express, “I am deeply anguished and pained by the loss of lives of young school children at an unmanned level crossing (UMLC) in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh. My thoughts are with families of the deceased, and I pray for the early recovery of the injured. The Ministry of Railways will provide an ex-gratia amount of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of the deceased, Rs 1 lakh for those with serious injuries and Rs 50,000 for those with simple injuries. I have ordered a senior level enquiry into the incident. We stand committed to taking all possible steps to avoid such accidents in future.”
The Logical Indian take
The state government has announced ex-gratia compensation, made a few arrests and suspended a few officials. This might seem justified on the outset but is merely a band-aid-solution to a more substantial systemic problem.
UP government is known for its apathy towards the children of the state. The grief of more than 70 infants who died in Gorakhpur is still fresh. Reports suggested that the Chief Minister was aware of the lack of oxygen supply in the hospital, but took no action. Instead, he had commented that children are not the government’s responsibility.
The news of unstitched bodies of children being handed over to parents adds to the state’s insensitivity. Uttar Pradesh government needs to take cognisance of its flaws and formulate solutions to fix its administration.