While it’s no secret that the authorities are still struggling to curb the number of deaths on railway tracks in the city, what is more appalling is that a majority of such victims often remain unidentified, raising questions over the railway police’s competence.
For instance, in the past week alone (November 18 to November 24), 68 people lost their lives on suburban tracks, according to the Government Railway Police (GRP) statistics. While this is bad enough, what’s really worrying is that 40 of them are yet to be identified. “It is the duty of the railway police staff to take the victims’ bodies to the hospital for post mortem after their death. However, many of them don’t take proper details of the deceased,” said a senior official from the Western Railway (WR).
Others allege that the GRP staffers are not only careless while handling such cases, but also often destroy any identification proof available on purpose, to avoid a prolonged follow-up procedure. “If the deceased were to be identified, it would involve a lot of paperwork and procedures for the police, and so, they try to avoid identification in the panchnama,” said another railway official.
Madhu Kotian, president of Rail Pravasi Sangh, said, “We are sure that the problem lies in the panchnamas taken by the railway police. It’s not possible for so many of the deceased to go unidentified. This should be investigated.”
GRP Commissioner, Ravinder Kumar Singal, who has been conducting drives and campaigns to control the number of such accidents, said, “Sometimes, passengers meeting with such accidents don’t have any identification on them, but are identified at a later stage. Often, by the end of the month or the year, the numbers fall as many families track down and identify the deceased.”
However, Singal added that he had already asked his staff to investigate the unidentified cases.