| Prabir Kumar De
Calcutta, June 15: Celebrity make-up artist Prabir Kumar De was hit by a train and killed this morning while he was walking along the rail tracks near Baghajatin.
He was talking on his cellphone and was too engrossed in the conversation to hear the train approaching from behind or heed the cries of onlookers.
De, 45, had gone to a place near Baghajatin with a team that had been retained by a model to shoot her portfolio. The shooting was taking place a few yards away from the tracks. Around 8.45 am, after the first round of work was over, De received a call on his mobile.
Probably because the reception was unclear, De climbed the embankment along which the tracks ran and began speaking animatedly on his cellphone. He walked slowly along a narrow path that ran just next to the tracks.
De had been speaking for barely a few minutes when a speeding train approached from behind and, on seeing the artist, hooted twice and slowed down. But, according to witnesses, De carried on talking on the phone.
“It was clear that either De did not hear the train, despite the hooting, or thought that the path he was walking along was safe enough,” said Samiran Roy, inspector-in-charge of Jadavpur police station.
Some shanty dwellers living along the tracks noticed De walking unperturbed and started shouting to him to get off and a few even tried to rush to pull him down. But by then it was too late.
Though the train had slowed down reasonably, it could not stop on time. It hit De on the head, flinging him down the embankment and into the thorny bushes below.
When people rushed to him, they found him dead with his skull cracked, his face smashed and his cellphone in three pieces.
“When we heard the commotion and the train hooting repeatedly, all of us rushed to the embankment to see what was happening and to our horror discovered Prabirda close to being hit,” said photographer Rana Bose.
“We also started screaming but Prabirda was oblivious to it all. He was hit by the train in front of our eyes. I still can’t believe it.”
The members of the unit are not aware of who De was speaking to when he was hit. “Earlier, he got a call from his secretary Anita,” Bose said. “But he quickly disconnected the line, saying that another call that he was awaiting was coming through.”