Over 2,600 killed in rail accidents in 18 months; 2,400 bodies recovered

New Delhi: More than 2,400 dead bodies have been recovered from railway tracks in and around Delhi NCR since 2019, with over 2,600 having died in untoward incidents reported from different railway stations under the Delhi division. According to data available with the Delhi division of the Railway Protection Force (RPF), as many as 1,872 bodies were found on railway tracks in 2019 and this year till June, 541 people had died after being hit by trains.

"Suicides, crossing railway tracks, sitting on tracks are among a few reasons behind such deaths," an official said, adding that they continuously patrol the tracks and make people aware of the dangers of crossing tracks. In the first week of July, a woman and her two daughters were found dead on train tracks in Delhi by some officers of the RPF, who were stunned to find a one-year-old baby alive near the chopped-up bodies. The infant had somehow escaped the accident that killed his mother and two sisters.

The data, accessed by Millennium Post showed that as many as 2,138 people were killed in mishaps ranging from falling off trains, trespassing, pole-hitting, falls in platform gaps, suicides, natural deaths to even electric shocks in 2019; whereas 618 people were killed in railway accidents this year till June.

As per the official, most people attempt the shortcut of crossing tracks to save time, instead of using the foot-over bridges, and are hit by trains in the process. After these bodies are found, the RPF informs Delhi Police for further investigation. "In some cases, bodies remain unidentified and messages regarding the UIDB are flashed to all SHOs, ACPs, DCPs and senior officers of other states. Hue and Cry notices with photographs of the deceased are pasted and cross checked with missing complaints of different police stations," the official said. While such deaths saw a dip during the lockdown period, they started spiking again as train movement started increasing.

The RPF, which is in charge of law and order matters in railways premises, said that they have time and again taken various measures to ensure the safety and security of people living near train tracks and passengers in a bid to curb these mishaps.

During the probe, police personnel record identifiers like tattoos, birthmarks and tailor marks on the clothing of the body. The Delhi Police, in April, had directed that disposal of bodies shall be done as per natural death norms or COVID-19 norms depending on the opinion of the doctor examining the body.

"Given the pandemic, we are focusing on awareness and only in rare cases do we arrest people under Railways Act, who are regular violators," an official said. In several instances, people fall into platform gaps while trying to catch a running train. Last year, such an accident was caught on camera when a woman carrying a bag was seen trying to board a running train and in the attempt, slips. However, the footage went on to show an alert RPF jawan reacting quickly and pulling her away from the train.

"Our alert staff have saved several lives like this," said Security Commissioner (East) Harish Papola.

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