Hail DC Shopian, Kashmiri people for timely support
Poonch, July 3: The families of the 11 students killed in last week’s Mughal Road accident on Wednesday demanded a judicial enquiry into the incident and criticized the district administration for a “lackadaisical” approach towards the incident saying no FIR has been registered despite passing of a week.
A vehicle, Tempo Traveller, carrying students of a private computer learning centre on a picnic trip from Surankote to Dhobijan (Sopore) met an accident near Pir Ki Gali along the Mughal Road last week which resulted in the death of 11 students, 9 of the girls, and injuries to 7 others of which two are still battling for life.
It also came to fore that the ill-fated vehicle was without route permit since August 10, 2017.
The families in a joint press conference on Wednesday expressed dismay over the “sloppy development” into the accident. They castigated the district administration and the relevant law enforcement agencies for showing “lackadaisical approach” towards the mishap.
“No one from the administration has turned up since the accident,” one of the bereaved family members said. “Not even a single person from the administration came to visit us.”
He said that there are many vehicles ‘plying without valid permits.’
The families said the Deputy Commissioner “didn’t step beyond Baffliaz”. However, they hailed DC Shopian and the people of Kashmir who according to them provided them all sorts of help during and after the accident.
“Our DC Rahul Yadav didn’t come beyond Baffliaz to share our pain and grief. We salute Kashmiri brothers and DC Shopian who remained with us shoulder to shoulder. We also want to thank Shopian police who came here to investigate the matter,” they said.
“What hurts us more is that the investigation has been handed over to such a person who is actually responsible for the incident,” the furious families said in the presser. “The person investigating the matter is a relative of the institute owner.”
One of the persons among the families said the DC failed to take any action against the institute and the driver. “How come a Tempo boards 18 passengers?”
Asserting that the families were caught unaware of the happening, he said that no prior permission was sought from any family regarding the proposed picnic.
“We also ask the district administration including SDM to show any proof that the institute had sought any prior permission to go on a picnic. The truth is that no permission was sought. When we heard of the accident, we had no idea whether our children are at the institute or at picnic,” he said.
Another family member Waqar Ahmad Khan narrating the fateful incident said, “June 27 was a horrible night for the whole district (Poonch).” He said the district administration is responsible for the tragedy.
Expressing concern over the frequent road accidents in the region, the families said many mishaps have taken place in the recent past but the district administration is “unmoved”.
Waqar seconded the statement of another bereaved family members that they were not informed about the proposed picnic by the institute. “I am a family member and know nothing of it (picnic). No permission was sought from us. We came to know only at 4 pm when we were asked to receive the dead bodies of our children,” he said.
The families demanded that the investigation be handed over to a “third party” stressing that “no local be made part of the probe team”.
They also raised questions over the local police, saying, “Two police posts fall on the way. How did they (police) allow the vehicle with so many passengers? They only keep a regular check on the movement of cattle. For them, human lives don’t matter.”
The families demanded the transfer of Deputy Commissioner saying that no action has been taken against traffic violators and drug peddlers during his tenure.
They also raised questions over the statement of RTO Poonch. “He (RTO) said that I haven’t issued any permit. May we ask him then who is granting the permits when JK-12 falls under their domain?”
The families also demanded an “accident hospital” along the Mughal road.
They urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make the already established trauma hospital functional. The telecommunication must also be made available along the road, they said.
The families also thanked Governor-led administration for help.
Meanwhile, National Conference senior leader and Member Parliament from Anantnag constituency Hasnain Masoodi, has sought immediate attention of the government towards upgrading the highway connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country.
Masoodi while speaking in the parliament over the issue of increasing frequency of fatal accidents in the state said, “The other day a tragic accident took place in Kishtwar resulting in the loss of 36 precious lives. Earlier scores of people had also met with a mishap on Mughal road and Ramban. Unfortunately, the main arterials of our state have turned into a death trap for commuters. There has been a scathing increase in the occurrence of accidents in the region.”
Seeking reply from the government on the increasing accidents, Masoodi said, “I would like to be acquainted as to what the government is doing to prevent such accidents.”
“Meantime, I demand a comprehensive repose of the government on the fate of various road projects of the state. Regrettably from past six months, nearly 1600 accidents have taken place in the state most of which took place on the highway connecting Srinagar with Jammu. There is a dearth of necessary ground staff to ensure safe and secure movement of the vehicular traffic on the highway. In addition to it, I urge the concerned ministry to come up with the measures which it is employing to reduce the incidence of such accidents,” he said.
“I also seek the answer from the concerned ministry as to by what time will the crucial Banihal-Ramban stretch be upgraded. The road stretch has been a primary bottleneck in ensuring smooth and hassle-free traffic of traffic on the route,” he asked.