Agencies, Saharsa At least 37 kanwariyas were run over and killed on the spot by the speeding Patna bound Rajrani Express when the pilgrims were crossing the railway track near Dahmara railway station on Saharsa-Khagaria rail division of ECR today.
Railway sources said here that the kanwariyas alighted from the passenger train and were crossing the track to reach the nearby Katyayni temple. Suddenly Rajrani express arrived on the track and crushed to death at least 20 kanwariyas. The sources said nearly 20 to 25 other pilgrims also sustained injuries in the accident.
The sources said the Kanwariyas were on their way to offer prayers at various temples on the occasion of the last Somwar (Monday) of the auspicious month of Shrawan. DRM of Samastipur division rushed to the spot along with rescue team. The irate people took the driver and the assistant driver of Rajrani express in their captivity and torched some of its bogies. Train services on the route are paralysed. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar took serious note of the accident and directed the local administration to launch the rescue and relief work on war-footing.
Expressing sorrow over the accident, Mr Kumar talked to the senior railway authorities at East Central Railway Headquarter and asked them to initiate immediate relief and rescue operation. ECR GRM Madhukar Gupta informed Mr Kumar that medical and relief train have been rushed from Barauni to the spot. While talking to a section of media Minister of State for Railway Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury expressed deep sorrow over the tragedy and termed it as an unfortunate incident. Detailing the incident he said “the accident site has three tracks and two passenger trains were standing on two separate tracks on both sides.
The pilgrims were trying to cross the middle track on which Rajrani Express was heading speedily from Saharsa to Patna and the pilgrims came under its wheels.” The Minister said, the exact number of casualty would be ascertained only after assessing the situation, however he confirmed 10 deaths, adding that the death toll may go up.” He said providing treatment to save the lives of the injured people was on the top of the agenda of the railway and instructions have been issued to the authorities concerned to carry forward the relief and rescue operations.
The Minister said it was responsibility of the local administration to manage the traffic and prevent the movement of the people on the track. MP from Khagaria Dinesh Chandra Yadav asked the railways and the local administration for speedy rescue operations and demanded compensation of Rs ten lakh to the kin of those killed in the mishap.