They had a lifetime chance to do away with their poverty at one go. But instead they chose to keep aside their greed, when it came to choosing between humanity and earning a livelihood in an unethical manner. A group of hawkers vending at the Saithia station returned lakhs of rupees and gold ornaments which they found inside the compartment while rescuing the trapped victims of the Vananchal Express.
“I had stumbled upon atleast three bundles of notes kept inside a red polythene bag. While two bundles were of Rs 500 denomination, one was of Rs 1000 denomination. At one point of time the thought of doing away with my hunger and poverty came to my mind. But then when I remembered the face of my mother I could not take it. I returned it to the GRP officials,” said Sagar Sen, one of the rescuers.
The 17-year-old youth who stays on the platform with other hawkers earns his bread by selling snacks and puffed rice to the train passengers. His daily earning is as meagre as Rs 80-100 per day.
“My mother who is suffering from an incurable lung disease and my sister who would be getting married stay in Rampurhat. It is mainly on my earning that my family runs,” he added.
But Sen was not alone. His friend Kamal Das who also stays on the platform and sells fruits also refused to give in when greed was trying to overcome his humanity.
“One of the passengers I had brought out from the compartment was wearing golden bangles, earrings and a chain. I decided not to touch it. But then I thought that someone else might take it away. It was then I opened all the jewellery from the dead woman and returned it to the officials,” Das said with bloodstains all over his shirt.
Both Das and Sen were however apprehensive that their noble efforts could go down the drain.
“We asked the officials to give us some receipt so that there is a proof that we had returned it. But the officials refused to give and pushed us away. We hope that the media reports would stop these cash and jewellery from falling into wrong hands and would be returned to the rightful owners,” Sen said.
Even the survivors acknowledged the noble efforts of the rescuers who had put aside their greed and returned all the valuables.
Raj Kamal Ojha one of the survivors of the accident said: “The locals, mainly the hawkers, were the first to get inside and rescue us. When two hawkers brought me out I told one of them that my mobile phone and my brief case was lying inside. One of the youths went inside once again and returned with the two things. It was only then that I could call up my family and inform them that I was safe.”
The GRP officials however refused to elaborate of the valuables that were returned by the locals. “Some of the youths have returned some articles which belong to the passengers. They would be returned to the rightful claimant,” an official said.