While Mumbai’s trains are already known for overcrowded compartments, the world found out today that life outside the train can be equally perilous. Mumbai yesterday, has faced one of the worst railway stampedes, the reasons of which are perplexing.
On a daily basis, thousands of commuters use the narrow foot overbridge that connects the Elphinstone station (WR) to Parel (CR), which happens to be a hub of the city’s business activities. A barely six-foot wide staircase, 30-odd steps, some broken and hundreds of people cramped into that confined space. Something had to give in, and finally, it did on this fateful Friday.
No one rightly knows what led to this devastating incident yet the commuters agree that it was inevitable. The reasons listed were many, heavy showers of rain, narrow bridges, collapsing of a part of the bridge, short-circuiting or the arrival of four trains consecutively at the platforms that led to an unimaginable number of people trying to use the bridge.
This gruesome incident took around 22 lives and left several injured. People were trapped on the stairs and the decades-old bridge, crammed so tight in the narrow space that several suffocated to death. Volunteers tried to help the people stuck in the unruly mob by climbing on the railings and breaking the side walls (taalpatris). The injured were taken To KEM and various other hospitals. The sight was horrendous to witness.
The pile of footwear left behind was a mute testimony to the tragedy that unfolded.
Who is to be blamed for this plight? The railway ministry, for their negligence towards the old bridge and coping with the increasing population using the local trains on a day to day basis OR the people, who lack patience and behave like animals, ruthlessly pushing people around in a crowd?
10 lakh as a compensation for the dead cannot bring back the person. It’s a gap that has been created. Why is that in India people have to die to wake up the government? Anyone who has travelled during the morning rush hours to Parel and Elphinstone road knows that it is an ordeal to exit the station. A demand for the new bridge was put up but there was no action taken on the same.
There is a dire need for people to understand that even if something has gone wrong somewhere, panicking would only make circumstances worse. It was heartbreaking to see people walk over other people, killing them, only to save their own lives.
The blame game has already begun with the Shiv Sena targeting the Railways and the NDA government at the Centre, and asking for the railway CM, Piyush Goyal’s resignation.
The Mumbai police has issued an appeal to donate blood.
“A (-)ve, B (-)ve and AB 9(-)ve blood is required in KEM hospital for those injured in #Elphinstone stampede. Please contact the blood bank at KEM,” the Mumbai police tweeted.
NewsAurChai Media pays condolences to the deceased and prayers for the fast recovery of the injured. We want to make an earnest appeal to all those who have blood groups matching the given ones to donate blood and help save someone’s life.