Raipur : At least 12 jaywalkers were mowed to death Saturday by a speeding train at a manned crossing near Chhattisgarh’s Bilaspur town, railway officials said. Agitated locals later torched a few coaches and vehicles in protest.
“At least twelve people were crushed to death as they tried to cross the rail tracks soon after a train left and failed to spot the Bilaspur-Raipur local on the other track,” Inspector General (Railways) Rajkumar Devangan said.
He said 10 people were critically injured in the accident. Most of them lost either legs or hands in the accident. They were rushed for treatment to Bilaspur town, around 110 km from Raipur.
The accident occurred around 7 p.m. at the manned Tarbahar railway crossing on the outskirts of Bilaspur – headquarters of Indian Railways’ most-profit making zone South East Central Railway (SECR) – on the busy Mumbai-Howrah route.
Bilaspur District Collector Thakur Ram Singh said: “Three trains reached the crossing simultaneously on three different tracks at the crossing and people who were trying to cross over the tracks were caught between speeding trains.”
Superintendent of Police, Bilaspur, Ajay Yadav, said: “Three trains came at one time at one crossing site and people, a majority of them on foot and others on cycles and motorcycles, ran in panic from one track to another and got crushed by a Bilaspur-Raipur passenger train.”
A large numbers of local people reached the site as news of the accident spread and pelted stones at trains at the crossing. A contingent of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) tried to control the situation.
The agitated people torched a few train coaches and set nine vehicles, mainly belonging to railway officials and district authorities, on fire. One protestor was reportedly injured when RPF men fired in air to disperse protesters.
Train movement on the route was disrupted.
Railway authorities have initially announced a relief of Rs.100,000 to the kin of each of those killed while the Chhattisgarh government has announced Rs. 50,000 as immediate compensation.