‘Visit every accident spot to identify train death victims’: Mumbai GRP
Noting that only two of the eight persons killed in train accidents daily are identified, government railway police (GRP) commissioner Ravindra Sengaonkar recently instructed senior police inspectors of all stations to visit each accident spot to investigate the victim’s identity.
Of the 2,993 persons who died in railway accidents in 2018, 942 were unidentified. According to GRP officials, this is owing to lax investigation by junior officials.
“Railway staff make arrangements to take the victim to the hospital and clear the tracks as soon as possible without checking the spot for evidence. However, senior police inspectors of all 13 GRPs have been asked to investigate the site and prioritise identification of victim,” said Sengaokar.
“After an accidental death is reported with the GRP, officers look for documents or mobile phones to trace identity. If they do not find anything, the victim’s body is stored in a mortuary for seven days before cremating it. The police save the victim’s clothes and belongings to help families identify the deceased,” said Sujata Patil, assistance commissioner of police (GRP).
“In some cases, the victim’s body gets dragged by the train and it becomes difficult to locate the victim’s belongings.”
Officers across the city’s GRP stations said they have been taking extra effort since the commissioner’s order. “In accidental death cases, we inform the city police stations and the missing persons bureau. We also put up photos of the deceased at police stations and hospital to assist the victims’ families,” said M Inamdar, senior police inspector, Kurla GRP. Till July 2019, Kurla GRP station recorded the highest number of unidentified bodies.
Prasad Pandhare, senior police inspector of Dadar GRP, said, “Earlier this year, we had received a call about a man who was killed while trespassing on the track between Sion and Matunga stations. We found a diary, lying 20 feet away from where the accident spot. The diary was unused, except a single mobile number on one of the pages. The number belonged to a relative of the victim. On questioning the relative, we were able to identify the victim as Mohan Sakharam Jadhav, a resident of Hingoli village.”
Pandhare said that 25 accidental deaths were reported between Dadar and Sion stations so far this year. Of the 18 victims who had gone unidentified, three were identified in July, said Pandhare.