10 pilgrims run over by train in Bihar

Patna, Aug 19 (IANS) At least 10 Hindu pilgrims were killed and nearly a dozen injured Monday when they were run over by a speeding train in Bihar's Khagaria district. Angry locals and pilgrims set ablaze two bogies, brutally assaulted the train driver and took railway officials hostage.

A police official confirmed the death of 10 Hindu pilgrims (Kanwariyas) when the Rajya Rani Express train ran over them as they were trying to cross the railway track at the Dhamara railway station on the Saharsa-Mansi rail route of the East Central Railway (ECR).

The train was travelling from Saharsa to Patna when the accident took place between 8 a.m. and 8.30 a.m. The express train does not have a scheduled stop at Dhamara station.

"The accident took place when pilgrims were trying to cross the railway track after alighting from a local train," he said.

Unconfirmed reports said that at least 20 pilgrims were killed and nearly 50 injured.

Soon after the incident, angry pilgrims and locals set ablaze two bogies, including one AC coach, of the train and attacked the railway officials.

"Some angry people attacked the train driver and seriously injured him. They beat him up mercilessly. Besides, some railway officials have been held hostage by them," a police official said.

Chief Public Relation Officer of ECR, Amitabh Prabhakar told IANS over telephone from Hajipur, its headquarters near Patna, that the situation is nearly out of control at the railway station following the incident as hundreds of angry people have been agitating.

"The railway officials are not in a position to visit the accident site...," said, adding that there is a lot of "confusion".

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed sadness and asked top railway officials to launch rescue operations and arrange proper treatment for the injured.


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