On Friday morning, Harikesh Dubey (32) was on his way to Lucknow to attend a wedding in his sister’s household but never arrived. He was sitting near the window on board the Neelachal Express when an iron rod smashed through the moving train’s window as it passed through a station in Aligarh district and pierced his neck, killing him on the spot.
His family has been left to pick up the pieces in the wake of the tragedy. Speaking to The Indian Express on Saturday evening, his cousin Gaurav Tripathi said, “He is survived by his wife, six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son. He worked in Delhi as a mobile tower technician, while his family lives in Gopinathpur village in Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur. He was the sole breadwinner.”
Members of his family claimed the initial compensation offered was Rs 15,000. Gaurav said, “We want to make sure the future of his children should not be affected. They offered Rs 15,000. We told them to keep the amount. His father came today to take his body back to the village, but we have decided not to perform the last rites until proper action is taken and our family gets justice.”
Harikesh’s brother concurred. Speaking to the media, he said, “I am not satisfied. We want action against workers who were negligent, along with compensation for his wife and children. Railways should arrange a job for his wife.”
Gaurav added, “The way he died, that an iron rod could kill him while he was sitting in the window seat… this level of negligence is akin to murder.”
Later in the evening, a spokesperson for North Central Railways tweeted that the compensation would be enhanced. “Railway Minister Mr Ashwini Vaishnaw announced a compensation amount of Rs 5 lakh to family members of the passenger, Harikesh Kumar Dubey, who lost his life…,” it said.
An official of the Government Railway Police had said on Friday: “Some work was going on in the neighbouring track and it appears that due to a machine which is used to raise and lower tracks, along with the speed of the moving train, the rod broke the window and caused the victim’s death.” An FIR has been registered against unknown persons under Section 304A (causing death by negligence).