When 19-year-old college student Rohit Surve saw an injured man writhing in pain on the railway tracks after he was run over by a local train, he did what very few Mumbaikars would do. Putting his life at risk, Surve, defying all odds, miraculously pulled the injured man to the side before the next train approached the platform.
The selfless hero’s death-defying act, however, was squandered as the Government Railway Police (GRP) officers wasted precious time in rushing the injured man to the hospital. The unidentified man succumbed to his injuries an hour-and-fifteen minutes later at the hospital.
The tragic incident occurred at Thane railway station, when a man in his twenties flung himself in front of the approaching 11.28 pm Dadar-Kalyan train, as it was making its way to platform number 2 on Monday.
“He was alive despite being run over by the train and had sustained head injuries. Only if he had been rushed to the hospital immediately, he could have been saved,” said an anguished Surve. The victim was pronounced dead by doctors at 12.45 am at Thane Civil Hospital.
According to another eyewitness, Manoj Chopra, the GRP officials and the coolie did not act fast enough. “They reached the platform late, and even after coming to the spot the GRP official was talking on his mobile phone. They did not bother to get down from the platform and pick up the injured man from the tracks, and for quite some time they were only watching the events unfold.”
With the CST-Kasara train slated to arrive in three minutes at 11.31 pm, Surve jumped onto the tracks. He was standing on platform 3 and had it not been for his dramatic rescue, the injured man would have once again come under a train.
“The only thing I thought of when the train was coming is that this man had to be saved from getting run over a second time. So, I jumped from platform 3, crossed the divider and pulled him from the tracks. The man was breathing when I took him aside,” said Surve adding, “Then along with the help of two other men, I hoisted the man on to the platform.”
Eyewitness Chopra added that the train narrowly missed hitting both of them by a whisker.
The GRP officials, however, gave a different account of the events, denying the allegations made by the eyewitnesses. A GRP official, on condition of anonymity, said, “It is not true that we reached the spot late. We cannot touch the person till we get a memo from the stationmaster. Also, we have procedures to follow after reaching the spot like clicking pictures of the man and checking if any of his belongings are scattered on the tracks,” adding, “We were the ones who lifted the man from the tracks, and it was not done by a commuter.”
“I had gone to the stationmaster’s cabin to call for the ambulance and stretcher which are of more importance. Also, before this incident, at 8.45 pm another person had died after he came under a train on the fast track. So, we were busy conducting the panchnama and other paperwork, when this incident took place,” said the GRP constable who was on duty that night, refusing to give his name.
He also added that with only two GRP constables manning the entire Thane railway station, which has 10 platforms, it is difficult to do everything. The GRP officials have not identified the deceased man yet.