Late Tuesday night, 43-year-old Dayaram Yadav had received a call from his nephew Amit. A student of Bachelor of Arts, Amit was returning from Mumbai on the ill-fated Kamayani Express that derailed in Harda in Madhya Pradesh. With no help in sight and the train coach in which he was travelling partially submerged in the river, Amit called his uncle in Azamgarh for help.
“He told me that the bridge had collapsed and some train coaches had fallen in the water. His own coach was partially submerged in water. He kept repeating that it is dark and he can’t see anything… I could hear people screaming behind him,” recalled Dayaram.
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Amit had gone to Mumbai to meet relatives during his summer vacation.
“We are close so he called me up two to three times in the night, until his phone got switched off,” said Dayaram.
He hasn’t heard from Amit since.
In Jaunpur, the family of 21-year-old Lavkush Rajbhar has not heard from him either. Lavkush was returning from Mumbai on the same train after he failed to get a job and was travelling without a reservation. His uncle Sushil Rajbhar told over phone from Mumbai that he had last spoke to Lavkush after he boarded the train. “Lavkush had given few interviews but could not secure a job and was going back alone… God knows where he is and how he is,” said Sushil.
Yadav and Rajbhar are among the 32 people who had called up the railway helpline number in Varanasi within 12 hours of the accident. However, the helpline has so far been unable to provide any relief to the worried family members.
Vinod Gupta, who manages the helpline desk, said that he was helpless as they have not received any information about “the dead or the injured or those who are safe” as yet.