14 kanwarias killed in UP mishap, hunt on
The search is still on for more bodies in Saryu as several kanwarias jumped into the river to escape being mowed down by a speeding train.Updated: Sep 14, 2007, 19:14 IST
The death toll in a train tragedy involving kanwarias rose to 14 on Friday after the discovering of four more bodies from the Saryu river in Uttar Pradesh, on top of the 10 who died a day earlier.
A speeding train ran over five of the pilgrims on a rail bridge in Gonda district, some 120 km from here, while five kanwaris jumped into the overflowing river and drowned while trying to escape getting crushed.
Police divers searching the Saryu discovered four more bodies on Friday, taking the death toll to 14, officials here said. The tragedy took place late on Thursday.
Police motorboats and divers searched the river for bodies right up to about 200 km downstream.
The accident triggered protests in the area, with supporters of the devotees of Lord Shiva blocking the Lucknow-Gorakhpur track till 2.30 am on Friday and damaging railway property.
Giving details, Principal Home Secretary JN Chamber said the accident occurred when some pilgrims pulled the emergency chain to stop the train in which they were travelling to collect the river water.
"As the train came to a halt over the bridge and some got down to fetch the water, which pilgrims carry to different temples as a part of an annual ritual, another scheduled train came on the other track over the bridge," he said.
Five were crushed under the wheels of the Lucknow-Gorakhpur Inter-City Express while at least five others jumped into the river. Their bodies were found later.
Divisional railway manager Ashima Singh told IANS: "It is not unusual for 'kanwarias' to pull chains of trains and get off to collect water of holy rivers which they carry to different temples."
The official also did not rule out the possibility that some kanwarias were simply walking across the bridge, as many do, when they got trapped between the two trains.