Twenty eight people,including 14 women and four children,were run over by a speeding train at Dhamara Ghat railway station in Khagaria in Bihar on Monday morning. Forty persons were injured. Most of the victims were pilgrims who had come to offer prayers at the local Katyayani temple located one and a half kilometre from the station.
The accident took place at around 8.40 am when 12567 Saharsa-Patna Rajrani Express,which has no scheduled stoppage at Dhamara Ghat,was crossing the station at a speed of 80 km per hour. According to eyewitnesses,pilgrims were jostling to get in and out of the the two trains Saharsa-Samastipur and Samastipur-Madhepura which had stopped at the station just before the incident. As there was green signal for the superfast train,there was no way the train driver could have applied emergency brakes as it could have caused derailment or even collision with either of the stationary trains. The station has no foot over-bridge and most of the passengers,who died in the accident,had been standing on the track unmindful of the trains arrival.
There was so much noise that many did not hear the approaching train. Most passengers standing on the tracks died on the spot. There were mutilated bodies all around when the train eventually stopped, said Suman Jha who saw the accident taking place. Railway station employees soon fled fearing mob fury, he added.
Angry locals later torched Rajrani Express and Saharsa-Samastipur Express and beat up the driver of Rajrani Express. Raja Ram Paswan,the train driver,however,managed to escape.
CM Nitish Kumar termed the accident as unfortunate and announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of the victims.