On Monday, at least 28 people in India were hit and killed, and eight were injured when an express train hit them. Many of them were Hindu pilgrims. The incident occurred in eastern India, according to authorities.
Officials stated that the people who were killed and injured were exiting a local passenger train when the speeding express train plowed into them. The train was traveling at approximately 100 kilometers an hour.
On the scene at the train station, people reacted angrily and furiously, setting the express train on fire and severely beating its driver, according to railway officials.
The express train slammed into the exiting passengers around 9:15 a.m. Monday at Dhamara station in the eastern state of Bihar, said Syed Parvez Alam He was the senior local official there who gave the approximate death toll.
According to a top Bihar police official, S.K. Bharadwaj, commenting to reporters:
It’s very difficult to give exact number of casualties right now as bodies are badly crushed.”
This is just the latest case of the thousands of people who are reported killed on the tracks of India’s colossal rail system each year.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s office, in a statement that was released to the public, expressed “deep sorrow and shock at the loss of lives of pilgrims.”
According to India’s state-run railway authorities, the local train passengers were walking on the tracks when the express train struck them.
The Hindu pilgrims who were killed were likely devotees of Shiva, the Hindu go of destruction. On Monday, which was an auspicious day in the holy month of Shravan, many devotees of Shiva head to holy sites across the country.
According to Arunendra Kumar, the chairman of the Indian Railway Board:
This station is a station in which there were two trains that were already standing because they were supposed to stop there and a super-fast express train was made to pass through there as part of the schedule.
“The passengers got out of the train and got on to the track, and they were moving on that track at the time the train came and got run over.”
He continued, adding that it wasn’t yet the right time “to talk about responsibility” and that “the primary focus is on relief.”
Relief trains had been sent to the area, stated Adhir Ranjan Choudhary, the Indian minister of state for railways, but they had had to stop far away from the scene because of the outbreak of violence by the people there.
Choudhary told reporters that the relief trains are waiting for police to reach the scene before they enter the area.
After having been “brutally beaten” by the angry people at the station, the driver of the express train, stated Kumar, was being treated for serious injuries at a hospital.
The prime minister, in his statement, appealed for calm “so that the relief and rescue operations can be carried out without any hindrance.”
According to a report by a safety panel last year, about 15,000 people die each year simply trying to cross India’s mammoth network of railway lines.
The report on safety stated that people are dying because of unmanned train crossings and a lack of barricades, fences and pedestrian bridges.
Two of the other reasons for the high numbers of deaths was that the platforms are too narrow and stations lack facilities such as elevators for the disabled.
It is unknown at this time if charges will be pressed against the driver of the express train, nor what condition he is in due to having been severely beaten by the crowd after the express train he had been driving in India hit and killed at least 28 people.
Written by: Douglas Cobb