Kushinagar van driver was a minor, drove rashly, say parents of victims
Parents demanded probe to ascertain age of driver Nayaz Ahmed, who was allegedly on his mobile phone and either didn’t hear or ignored the children shouting to stop the vehicle when they saw the approaching train before tragedy struck, killing 13.lucknow Updated: Apr 27, 2018 23:59 IST
The school van driver who drove the vehicle packed with students into an incoming train at an unmanned crossing in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar on Thursday was a “minor” and there were complaints about him for rash driving, parents of the children who died in the tragedy alleged on Friday.
The parents demanded an investigation to ascertain the age of driver Nayaz Ahmed, who was allegedly on his mobile phone and either didn’t hear or ignored the children shouting to stop the vehicle when they saw the approaching train before the tragedy struck, killing 13 kids.
Kiran Kumar of Misrauli village in Dudhai town, who lost all three of her children, said her husband Amarjeet suspected the driver was underage for a driving licence and he had complained to the Divine Mission School administration three days ago about his rash driving.
“The school authorities gave us assurance,” she said. “After a lot of persuasion, they said they would change the driver earliest by Shab-e-Barat on May 1. The school and the railways are responsible for the tragedy. We demand legal action against the officers concerned,” said the mother of 10-year-old Ravi, Anoop and Ragini, aged eight and three.
The driver’s age as per his date of birth on the driving licence is 22. The regional transport officer of Gorakhpur division, DD Mishra, dismissed the allegation that Nayaz is a minor, but he couldn’t answer why the school van didn’t have a number plate. He said the tragedy happened because of negligence.
The angry and distraught villagers were not convinced about the driver’s age on his driving licence.
“Even a blind person could tell that he is a minor,” said Videshi Prasad, a villager who was among the mourners at Kumar’s home on Friday.
“An Aadhaar card or driving licence cannot be a criterion to judge one’s age,” he said, implying that people could fake their date of birth to get these documents.
Police have registered a case against Nayaz and Divine Mission School. The driver’s mother, who lives in neighbouring Shahpur village, said she could not tell his age.
According to Shahpur residents, Nayaz’s father Mohammed Nasiruddin worked in Saudi Arabia and his elder brother, Saddam, was a driver there. They said Nayaz wanted to join his brother in Saudi Arabia and, hence, learnt to drive a car at an early age.