A senior railway official, who is part of the investigation team, on Saturday said, “The train after slowly leaving its last station began to cruise at a speed of over 100 kmph. It ran over the other end of the pointed iron rod which turned it into a missile, shattering the glass windowpane and piercing through the neck of the passenger sitting next to the window.”
The freak accident took place on Friday morning around 8:45am when the train was moving between Danwar (Bulandshahr) and Somna (Aligarh) railway station in the Prayagraj division of the North Central Railways (NCR). The victim, identified as Harikesh Kumar Dubey, seated in the coach next to the engine, died on the spot.
The rail official added: “The impact of the pointed iron rod was so intense that it could have killed another passenger seated behind the victim. The rod had penetrated nearly 10 inches through the portion dividing the two compartments. A woman passenger was also injured by the shattered glass window.”
After Saturday’s postmortem, the victim’s family took the body for cremation to his native place in Sultanpur district. In the evening, the minister of railways Ashwini Vaishnaw announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for the family of the dead passenger. Vinay Saroj, son of injured passenger Gayatri Devi, who witnessed the tragic death of Harikesh, said, “The passenger was sitting quietly with the windowpane pulled down. Suddenly, out of nowhere an iron rod pierced through the window and killed him. The horrific moment cannot be explained in words. We just don’t know exactly how an iron rod went through the coach.”
Admitting that a team was working on the track maintenance in the area where the incident took place, NCR spokesperson Himanshu Shekhar said, “A three-member committee headed by the divisional traffic manager (an IRTS officer) has been constituted to investigate all the technical and non-technical aspects related to the case.”
GRP station house officer (Aligarh junction) Subodh Yadav said, “An FIR has been registered against unknown railway workers for negligence. The case has been registered under IPC section 304-A (causing death by negligence). The iron rod was left unattended on the track.”
According to Dubey’s family, he along with his wife Shalini Dubey and two children — seven-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son — were living in Delhi’s Soniya Vihar suburb for more than eight years. After being jobless for over a year due to the pandemic, he recently started working as a tower technician at a private firm.