MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Thursday, 25 July 2024

Kanchenjunga Express collision: Case registered after injured passenger denies 'complaint'

The discrepancy over the complaint — in which the negligence of the loco pilot and the assistant loco pilot of the goods train were blamed for the accident — has added to the mystery surrounding the Monday train tragedy in which 10 lives were lost

Binita Paul, Snehamoy Chakraborty Calcutta, Siliguri Published 20.06.24, 10:50 AM
The mangled Kanchenjunga Express coaches at the accident site in Chhoto Nirmaljote village near Siliguri.

The mangled Kanchenjunga Express coaches at the accident site in Chhoto Nirmaljote village near Siliguri. Picture by Passang Yolmo

The Government Railway Police (GRP) has registered a case at New Jalpaiguri GRP station based on a “complaint” filed by a passenger of Kanchenjunga Express that met with a collision on Monday, but the complainant claimed that she did not lodge any such “complaint”.

The discrepancy over the complaint — in which the negligence of the loco pilot and the assistant loco pilot of the goods train were blamed for the accident — has added to the mystery surrounding the Monday train tragedy in which 10 lives were lost.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I have not filed any complaint against anybody in connection with the accident,” Chaitali Majumdar, a resident of Lake Town in Siliguri, whose name has been referred to as the complainant, said.

“I was inside the train when the incident happened. Later, I learnt that a goods train dashed the Kanchanjunga Express from behind. How can I have information as to whether the goods train was at high speed or whether it is the responsibility of the loco pilot and his assistant?” the woman asked.

Chaitali, who suffered a leg injury in the crash, is recuperating at home after spending around 24 hours at a hospital.

Anil Kumar, the loco pilot of the goods train, died in the accident. Manu Kumar, the assistant loco pilot, is under treatment for multiple injuries at a private nursing home in Siliguri.

According to Chaitali, she was shifted to the railway hospital in New Jalpaiguri (NJP) after the accident where her father, Chinmoy, turned up after learning about the hospitalisation.

“I was under treatment when some plainclothes policemen came and asked me what had happened. As I narrated my experience, they recorded the video of my narration. Later, they told me to put my signature on a blank paper with my address and contact number. I did what was asked of me as I was under the impression that they were recording my statement. I had no inkling that they would use it as a complaint,” Chaitali, who was travelling in a sleeper coach of the ill-fated Kanchenjunga Express, said.

The GRP, however, has claimed that they launched the investigation after Chaitali submitted a written complaint with them.

Charges under different sections of the Indian Penal Code — along with the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and the Railways Act — have been brought against the pilot and the co-pilot.

The action by the GRP, a unit of the state police, raised several questions as the ruling Trinamool establishment in Bengal has gone after the railways after the accident and blamed “systemic failure” for the accident.

Several senior Trinamool leaders, including Siliguri mayor Gautam Deb, have attacked the predominant railway narrative in which the driver and his assistant were blamed for the tragedy.

A source in the GRP said that although it is a state government unit, it works in coordination with railway officials as the latter always investigate cases involving the railways.

“So it is not surprising that the complaint may have had a resonance with what the railway authorities have been saying overall,” said a senior GRP official.

S. Selvamurugan, the superintendent of the railway police (SRP) in Siliguri, shied away from commenting on Chaitali’s allegations.

He said that the agency acted on a written complaint.

“Why are people so concerned because the case has started? We will investigate the case that has been registered on the basis of a complaint in writing. This is the first information report (FIR) and doesn’t have much evidential value. We are working to find the actual facts,” said the SRP.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT