Gory memories haunt survivors

Red terror on tracks: Victims reach Mumbai by special train

Gory memories haunt survivors

On Saturday night, nearly 600 victims of the Naxal attack in West Bengal boarded the special train from Kharagpur for their onward journey, while others either cut short their journey and went back to their homes or were still waiting for their injured relatives.
The train arrived on platform number 5 of Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) at Kurla in north east Mumbai, which has become a major point for all trains bound for Bihar and Uttar Pradesh off late.

As the train arrived at the LTT, which was already crowded with anxious relatives, chaos prevailed as everyone in the crowd surged ahead to embrace their near and dear ones, who finally reached here after the ordeal.

Media people were in full strength, catching anyone and everyone for stories.

“I cannot believe it. I was in the same coach that was hit by the goods train. I was sleeping when I was flung away all of a sudden, and did not know what happened. The Army jawans came in after a few hours and got me out,” said a survivor Vinayak Pani, who is a medical officer from Rourkela.

Another passenger, who travelled in the same train, said he heard “a bang and fell down on the floor of the train. All I remember after that is being carried out with the help of fellow commuters. My leg was bloody and badly hurt.”

A tired passenger, who survived the tragedy, said: “I was in  coach S10 and I saw how some 20 people stuck in the engine of the goods train that rammed into the first four-five coaches. It was ghastly.” While the survivors were telling their stories, porters in a rare gesture volunteered to carry their luggage free of cost.

“This was done so that the passengers do not have to worry about carrying the luggage themselves after going through the trauma and having made such a long journey,” said Ramlal, one of the senior porters at the LTT.  Family members surrounded their kin as they got down from the train. The atmosphere became emotional as many broke down in tears while some thanked god.

Most survivors felt that the toll could have been minimised had the rescue efforts were launched quickly.

A tailor from Wadala in Mumbai, Mohasin, who was aboard the ill-fated train, said: “The police came nearly two hours after the incident and stood there doing nothing. The rescue work started only when the military arrived at 5 am. Until then, nothing was done by the authorities.”

During their entire journey from Kharagpur to Mumbai, no one slept, as the images of the tragedy were haunting them. “We can’t sleep even though we have been awake for more than 36 hours. I keep seeing disfigured bodies scattered on railway tracks,” said a jawan.

He is still angry about the delay in pulling out people trapped inside the mangled coaches. “They did not have enough gas cutters. People were screaming for help but it took very long to reach them,” he said.

Naxals attack panchayat office in Orissa

BHUBANESWAR, dhns: Nearly 30 armed Naxalites, including a few women, raided a panchayat office in the Kalimela area of Orissa on Saturday night and destroyed the building by triggering a landmine blast.

Though no loss of life has been reported in connection with the incident, important  documents stored in the office have been destroyed in the blast, according to a report reaching the state headquarters on Sunday.

The Naxals attacked the panchayat office just a couple of days after huge quantities of arms and ammunitions as well as literatures of the left wing extremists were seized from a Naxal camp in the district.

The elite special operation group (SOG) of the Orissa police had traced the camp and seized the arms during operations in the interior area of the backward district.

The SOG jawans, however, had not been able to capture any of the ultras as they (Naxalites) had fled to the nearby jungles minutes before the camp was raided by the special force.

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