We want enquiry, say survivors of train tragedy

Thursday, February 3, 2011

LUCKNOW - Survivors and victims’ families Thursday sought an enquiry into the train rooftop accident that claimed the lives of 18 Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) aspirants in Uttar Pradesh.

“By holding the ITBP aspirants responsible for the accident, the state government or the ITBP or any government agency linked to the recruitment drive can’t wash their hands off the tragic incident,” Maroof Ali, whose younger brother Mubaraq Ali received serious injuries, told IANS.

Mubaraq, who was injured in the head and eyes, is being treated at the trauma centre of the Chhatrapati Sahuji Maharaj Medical University (CSMMU) here.

The accident occurred at Shahjahanpur, some 180 km from Lucknow, Tuesday when several ITBP aspirants travelling atop a train crashed into an overbridge.

They were on the roof of Himgiri Express and returning from Bareilly, where they had gone to attend a recruitment drive by the paramilitary force.

“We have to analyse the reasons that led to the accident. The question we want answered is why candidates of 11 states were called for recruitment at a single place,” said Maroof, who is from West Bengal.

“This is the prime reason that led to the chaos, which in turn resulted in resentment among ITBP aspirants. An enquiry must be ordered into the incident so that no government agency can shrug off its responsibility.”

Anger among ITBP aspirants over mismanagement at the recruitment drive triggered violence, following which security personnel stepped in.

Ram Asrey, whose 18-year-old son Om Prakash, is also being treated at the trauma centre, told IANS: “There were over one lakh aspirants who had assembled in Bareilly. When such a massive recruitment drive was to take place, why were no arrangements made for ferrying students?

“The tragedy was bound to happen due to the improper arrangements made by the authorities.”

Survivors and their families alleged that even after two days of the accident, no official from any government agency or any political party had approached them to enquire about their health or other problems.

“Everyone is blaming us for the accident. They have not even felt the need to meet and ask us why we were on top of the train coaches. Security personnel charged at us, and so candidates preferred to climb on the train coaches,” an injured Jitendra Yadav at the trauma centre told IANS.

Yadav’s friend Ram Sakal said: “Such accidents will continue to happen unless the accountability of government agencies is fixed. ITBP, the state police and the railways must all come forward and admit their fault.”

After the accident, Sakal took three injured youths to the hospital on a rickshaw but he said all of them succumbed to their injuries.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

will not be displayed