Dhamara Ghat residents who went on the rampage after the Rajya Rani Express ran over 28 people on Monday are now repentant.
Fear of legal action for the vandalism apart, their conscience, too, is giving them sleepless nights. With their tempers cooling down, they now realise they have ended up harming the one facility that supports them round the year, the railway line.
Dhamara Ghat is a backward area, lacking motorable roads. The railways are the lifeline of the area with the people of Khagaria and Saharsa preferring to travel to Patna by train. Travelling to Patna by the Rajya Rani Express, for instance, takes just four hours. The Telegraph spoke to the people on Thursday and found them expressing regret. Their names are being changed to protect identity as an FIR has been lodged against 1,000 unnamed persons for vandalism, loot and damage to railway property.
Dhamara village resident Raman Jha said: “The Dhamara Ghat railway station has served us for all these years. But, while vandalising the station on Monday, it did not occur to us that we are harming the facility which connects us to the other districts.”
He added: “For all these years, we had never thought of harming the railways. But unfortunately, we lost our tempers and damaged railway property. We are sorry for that.”
Vijay Mandal, the station master of Dhamara Ghat railway station, on Tuesday registered two separate cases — loss of railway property and unnatural death of 28 persons — at the Mansi Government Railway police station. The FIR accuses 1,000 unnamed people of vandalising and looting the station’s ticket counter as well as beating up loco pilot Raja Ram Paswan and his assistant S.K. Suman and setting two trains on fire.
Superintendent of railway police Jitendra Mishra confirmed it. The police said identifying the accused is going to be difficult as there is no video footage or other evidence against the mob. “We will also investigate the allegations levelled by the injured persons before taking action against the railway officials,” Mishra said.
The ones who went on the rampage though are ruing the mob mentality that took over them on Monday.
Badri Mandal, a Dhamara Ghat resident in his late 40s, said: “Our actions on Monday might make the railways stop its good work in this area. We have no roads and trains are our only means of transportation. This attack of ours, I hope, does not affect railway movement.”
They are not providing any excuse. One Vijay Mahato said: “I feel remorse for all the damage we caused. I have no excuse for destroying the railway’s property.”
The divisional railway manager of Samastipur division, Arun Malik, pegs the loss incurred by Indian Railways at Dhamara Ghat railway station at Rs 8-9 crore.
Some of those who turned violent on Monday even vowed not to lose their heads like this again. But they did ask for an upgrade of facilities at the Dhamara Ghat station by constructing a second platform and a foot over-bridge.