A woman in the S3 compartment was allegedly drunk and was seen smoking by passengers, who then pulled the chain at Goregaon to complain about her; officials later also found traces of oil in the coach
Passengers of the Mumbai-Dehradun Express, which caught fire on January 8, had pulled the chain soon after its departure, when they allegedly noticed a woman passenger smoking on the train. According to eyewitnesses who were in the Mumbai-Dehradun Express in the wee hours of Wednesday, the woman identified as Anjali got into the S3 coach from Bandra Terminus.
The woman, named Anjali, was allegedly smoking in the compartment. Later, officials also found oil in the compartment, which they believe, may have fuelled the fire
“She boarded the train from Bandra Terminus and she was drunk. Also, she was smoking and roaming the coaches. There were arguments between the passengers because of her. A few other passengers and I pulled the chain at Goregaon,” said a passenger named Raju, who was in the S3 coach. After the railway team attended to the chain pulling, they warned the passengers and left. The officials had isolated the chain-pulling system, instead of restoring it, due to which passengers couldn’t tug on the chain when the coach caught fire.
Post-fire, the Dahanu railway police found the woman in the compartment, in a confused state. Officials say the woman is mentally unstable. She was unable to recollect anything or any incident of fire, despite having been in S3, said to be the source of the fire. “She is changing her statement again and again. We too are confused. She is talking to herself. We have got complaints from a passenger named Ansari that she had created a ruckus in the compartment and her fellow travellers were tired of her behaviour,” said a railway staff, who is on duty at Dahanu for restoration work.
Officials also found traces of oil inside the S3 coach, which, they feel, fuelled the fire. “After the fire was under control, we could see the presence of oil in the coach. There might be a chance that the lady was smoking and some passengers were carrying inflammable objects, which resulted in the fire,” the official added. Pramod Davare, senior inspector (GRP), Palghar, said, “The lady is mentally disturbed and we have contacted her family members. Her brother is in Delhi and is unable to come and take her with him. We have contacted a doctor who has recommended sending her to mental hospital due to her mental condition.”
Western Railway has handed over cheques of Rs 5 lakh to the relatives of passengers who died in the mishap. All five bodies that have been identified have been handed over to their families. The Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) will hold a statutory inquiry in the divisional office at Mumbai Central on January 13 and 14.
Whereabouts of four are yet to be ascertained:
>> Sakina Arsiwala (57 yrs), Nal Bazar, Mumbai
>> Jamir Ahmed (60 yrs), Jogeshwari (W)
>> Hakimuddin F R (63 yrs), Dhar, Madhya Pradesh
>> Ms Zebunh Dhar (53 yrs), Madhya Pradesh