Patna: At least 20 people died as the Rajya Rani Express ran over them at the Dhamara station near Saharsa in Bihar on Monday morning. The death toll is expected to rise as over 40 other people were reported to be injured.
Following the accident, angry villagers reportedly took the Rajya Rani Express driver hostage and lynched him to death and set two trains ablaze. However, Arunendra Kumar, Railway Board Member (Mechanical) who is holding additional charge of Chairman, Railway Board, claimed that the driver was only injured.
The Railway Board Chairman also said that the train was running as per its scheduled route and some people were walking on the tracks at the time of the accident. "It's a three-track station. Two trains were already standing at the station. and the crowd was moving on the third track. A super fast train was coming on that track and they were run over," Arunendra Kumar said.
"The train was passing through line number 2 when it ran over some people. Angry locals have set the train on fire. They have not allowed officials to reach the site," said railway PRO Amitav Prabhakar.
The injured have been rushed to the hospitals in Saharsa and Katihar. The train ran over the people who were getting off a local train at the railway station to go to a local temple for worship. The local train has also been set ablaze by the angry locals.
The train was running from Saharsa to Patna and it did not have a stoppage at the Dhamara railway station and was running at full speed.
There is complete chaos at the accident site as people are not letting ambulances come in. Some railway officials have also been reportedly beaten up by the locals.
The Dhamara station lies in a flood prone area. Therefore, senior administration officials from Patna will face difficulties in reaching the station.
Administration officials have been trying to pacify the locals and trying to pursue them to help in the rescue operation.
Reacting to the accident, BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said, "What has happened is unfortunate. The driver of the train should have slowed down."