A woman and two men, the only breadwinners in their families, were hit by an express train on Sunday; kin blame railways for not building another bridge for commuters
After three people, including a woman, died while crossing the railway track at Badlapur railway station at 2.40 pm on Sunday, two of the bereaved families blamed the railways and the police for negligence. However, for the kin of one of the deceased it was destiny that pulled him to the tracks.
Crossing over: As Sangeeta Ainkar is crossing the tracks at Badlapur station to reach platform no 3, her leg gets trapped in one of the two tracks running parallel to each other
Helping hand: Seeing that she's unable to free herself, Srivastav and Bhavar rush to her rescue. They struggle for a while, and finally manage to disentangle her, pulling her back to the parallel track.
Killer express: However, an oncoming train on the parallel track hits them, killing Sangeeta and Srivastav on the spot. Bhavar succumbs to his injuries later. Illustrations/jishu dev malakar
All three were the sole earning members in their respective families. According to police records, Dilip Bhavar (35) and Shivshankar Srivastav (40) had gone to rescue Sangeeta Ainkar (42), who was caught in the tracks, when a long-distance express train ran them over. While the latter two died on the spot, Bhavar was taken to a hospital in Ulhasnagar where he breathed his last.
'Delay killed him' Bhavar, a Kalyan resident, was employed with a private firm. He is survived by his mother Shashikala (60), wife Sujata (28), a 12-year-old son, and two daughters aged nine and six. He had gone to Badlapur to meet a friend.
Rekha Gaikwad (37), Bhavar's elder sister, said, "My brother was alive after he met with the accident. But the police procedure killed him. They could have taken him to any private hospital nearby and saved his life, but he was taken to a hospital in Ulhasnagar. My question to the police is, was there no private hospital in Badlapur open on Sunday."
Her next query was aimed at the railways. "There is only one bridge connecting platforms1, 2 and 3, and it's in the centre. Why have the railway authorities been sleeping? Are they waiting for more people to die?" She continued, "Now, who will look after his children and wife? He was the only earning member of the family.
My mother is handicapped and (Dilip's wife) is uneducated."
'Compensate' Vanita Bhopi, Gram Panchayat member of Saigaon, where Sangeeta lived, said, "Sangeeta was a housemaid, and the only earning member in the family to sustain her four children. Her eldest daughter is married. Her other daughters are eight and 12, and her son is 17. Their father died two years back of an illness. Now they have all been orphaned.
"The 12-year-old is still mourning her father's death. She doesn't go inside the house when her mother's at work. She waits at my place until her mother returns. I wonder what will happen to her. The government should give some compensation to the kids. There should be another bridge at the Badlapur station."
Srivastav's kin are too distraught to even point fingers. Said Manju (48), Srivastav's sister, "I got a call at 4 pm from the police, saying that my brother had met with an accident. His wife was in Uttar Pradesh with their four-year-old son. My brother worked as a security guard at an ATM. He had a night shift on Sunday. But one of his colleagues asked him to fill in for him for the afternoon shift. I guess it was his destiny that the shift was changed. Fate pulled him to the deadly track."
Copspeak Anivesh Kumar, assistant station master, Badlapur railway station, said, "Usually, we get suicide cases here. Sometimes, there are incidents of fatal track crossings. We have proposed for extending the existing skywalks to form another bridge from platform 1 to 3, so people do not cross the tracks. We are waiting for the monsoon to get over. In this month, we have come across at least five accident cases."
Senior Inspector Arun Jagtap of the Kalyan railway police station, under whose jurisdiction falls the Badlapur station, said, "Bridges or no bridges, people will continue crossing railway tracks. Warning them against crossing tracks is the job of the RPF. But we don't know if they have deployed any officials to keep a watch on people crossing tracks."