At an age when most of the children are found cherishing coca cola drinks at home or parties, ten-year-old Mohammad Sajid has developed an uncanny taste petrol!
Sajid sneaks into courtyards and garages around Anwarganj in Kanpur to steal his 'cherished drink'. Unsurprisingly, he is a big headache for his neighbours.
His family say that Sajid turned a 'petroholic' when he was just two-and-a-half years of age. It was while playing outside that he sniffed petrol and henceforth developed a fascination for it. Later, he turned a nuisance since he made it a habit to cut fuel hose pipes of automobiles and drink petrol.
Sajid's mother Nagina says: "He (Sajid) has been drinking petrol since he was only two and a half years old. He used to play near cars and perhaps developed an attraction to smell petrol. One day a neighbour complained that Sajid had drunk from his vehicle's petrol. We scolded the child but he started wandering on roads in search of petrol.
She says: "Later, we started thrashing him. He, however, used to get furious. So we used to set him free at night or early morning hours. He used to drink and empty the tank of vehicles that were parked at nearby market area."
One of his routine victims is Junaid, the owner and caretaker of the nearby parking lot, who has to stay on an extra vigil lest Sajid should arrive and go about cutting pipes here.
He says: "This is our vehicle parking stand and this child comes here stealthily and drinks the petrol from the tank of the parked vehicles. Our customers get very angry."
Despite all precautionary measures, Sajid is unstoppable. He somehow manages to sneak in, approaches the two and four-wheelers parked inside the stand, targets the fuel tank or the hose connection and steals petrol.
Junaid says that Sajid's petrol drinking capacity is yet unconfirmed but on many occasion his victims say the child may have drunk even two litres of petrol.
He says: "Various customers have told us that he has drunk one litre or two-litre petrol from their vehicles. We don't know what to do, he is just a child."
Sajid comes from a very poor family. His parents have tried all possible modes to get their child rid of this peculiar addiction. He gets aggressive if someone tries to stop him.
The mother says that the local doctors are unable to get Sajid's problem treated. All they suggested is to scold the child to refrain him from drinking petrol. Sajid is yet to acquire his speech ability and avoids school. He looks different from other children of his age.
Sniffing or drinking petrol gives certain persons an immediate high but it may harm the central nervous system and major organs.
Petrol is a mixture of volatile toxic hydrocarbons. Akin to alcohol, the stomach quickly absorbs petrol that acts as a depressant.