Amid the scenes of mangled bodies, tragedy and despondency at the site of the train accident in Jhargram, there were also scenes of hope and happiness.
Seven-year-old Mayank Bothra was among the lucky survivors aboard the Mumbai-bound Gyaneshwari Super Deluxe Express that derailed on Friday in West Midnapore.
Mayank was travelling with his father Anil Bothra in bogie S5. “There was a loud noise and suddenly there was no light,” the boy told Hindustan Times.
Mayank was sent back to Kolkata where his relatives picked him up. His father, however, was not as lucky. He died in the accident.
“Strange are the ways of God,” said Mayank’s uncle, Kamal Bothra, who came all the way from New Delhi to look for his brother’s body.
“My brother (Anil) was going to see his wife in Rourkela, where she was vacationing at her parents' place,” Kamal said.
A last minute change of plan saved Mumbai-resident Debankur Adhikari. Adhikari was on a vacation in the northeast state of Sikkim and was scheduled to return to Mumbai on May 27 on the same train.
But he decided to extend his holiday and visit Kaziranga National Park in Assam.
Another survivor, 27-year-old Ritu Raj, a Mumbai-based engineer, was heading home on a vacation and was excited about meeting his parents.
He was in S4, one of the four badly hit bogies, when he was jolted out of his sleep.
“Before I could take any stupid step, there was a huge collision and the bogie jumped off the track, falling towards the north,” Raj said.
He somehow managed to get out of the broken window and climbed onto the roof. And it was only when he saw several other damaged bogies, did he realise the magnitude of the accident.
There were nearly 72 passengers in the bogie. Only a handful survived.
CPM vs Mamata
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee termed the accident a ‘conspiracy’ ahead of Sunday's civic polls in West Bengal.
“We have asked for a proper investigation, preferably by the CBI,” she said. In an indirect reference to the ruling CPM, she said: “I don’t know who has done the heinous crime. But whoever has done it, it’s a political conspiracy.”
(With inputs from Anbwesh Roy Choudhary)