'My wife screamed but my mother could not hear'

Said Iqbal Shaikh, son of Halima who was hit by a train while crossing the track

Time and again, authorities have urged commuters not to cross railway tracks, and use the foot overbridges instead.

But in the big city busy life, the warnings are casually ignored and routinely disregarded. However, for Iqbal Shaikh, the casual attitude stopped yesterday after his mother Halima (55) was hit by an oncoming train while she was crossing the tracks at Vikhroli station.

Iqbal has pledged never to allow his wife and daughter to trespass railway tracks.

The mishap occurred around 1 pm after the overhead wires of the Titwala-CST slow local that Halima had boarded got entangled as the train entered Vikhroli, following which the train had to be halted. She was accompanied by her daughter-in-law Haseena and 11-year-old granddaughter.

The three were going to CST and had boarded the slow train at Mulund. They were among several other commuters who got off and started crossing the tracks from platform two over to platform four to board another train.

While Haseena and her daughter went ahead and crossed the tracks to the fast corridor, Halima followed slowly.

Eyewitnesses at the station said that she failed to see the oncoming Nagarcoil Express going northward as it hit her. "My wife and daughter screamed but she couldn't hear as the train hit her. She sustained severe head injuries," said Iqbal (35), Halima's son, who got the news from his brother.

Halima was taken to Rajawadi hospital by the Government Railway Police (GRP) where she was declared dead. "We were informed about the accident by the locals. She was in a bad state, and we rushed her to the hospital," said a police constable present at the spot.

During this time, Haseena kept calling up Iqbal frantically.

"I was busy with my work and ignored a couple of calls from my wife. But at 1.30 pm, my brother called up and informed me about her death," said a heartbroken Iqbal. "I will never allow my wife and daughter to cross the tracks ever again."

"The victim's body was sent for autopsy, after which the family was allowed to take it for the last rites," said Senior Inspector S K Dhumal of Kurla GRP.

The average number of deaths every day while crossing tracks on the suburban railway route

Schedule disrupted
After over two hours of the incident, when the mechanical error was rectified, the stationary train got moving and the tracks were cleared.

The fault led to the cancellation of 20 services, and delayed others by over 15 minutes. Meanwhile, 30 slow trains on Mulund-Matunga stretch were diverted on to the fast track.

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