Muslim victim of Odisha train tragedy awaits Didi’s ‘mamata’

While Odisha government promptly provided financial assistance for victims of Balasore train tragedy, West Bengal failed to do so

| Updated: 09 June, 2023 8:50 pm IST

KOLKATA, WEST BENGAL: West Bengal Chief minister Mamata Banerjee never misses an opportunity to project herself as a champion of the ‘Muslim cause’, most of the time at the cost of suffering for her Hindu constituents.

However, at the time of need, the CM Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) government appeared to have done a Houdini Act.

While CM Banerjee was among the first political leaders to visit the site of the tragic train accident in Odisha’s Balasore district, a Muslim survivor of the horrific train accident told The New Indian that they are yet to get any monetary compensation from the West Bengal government.

ALSO READ: 233 dead, 900 injured in devastating three-train collision in Odisha’s Balasore

“The Odisha government gave me an ex-gratia amount of ₹2 lakhs. However, I am yet to get anything from the Bengal government,” crash survivor Mohammad Raju, who works as a manager at ‘Kolkata Band’ in Kolkata’s Mahatma Gandhi Road, told The New Indian in an exclusive interview.

“We have spoken to the local councillor, but the local officials are just making us go on a merry-go-round,” Raju said. “I hope Didi (as CM Banerjee is fondly called) will hear our plight and help us. It will help me with my medical expenses,” Raju, who had suffered a head injury, added.

ALSO READ: Coromandel Express accident: 35 persons from West Bengal killed

Echoing the sentiments, owner of ‘Kolkata Band’ Md Shakil, who raised Raju from his childhood days, told The New Indian, “I am hoping that Didi will listen to our prayers and provide some financial assistance. It will help in his treatment as there is no one else in his family besides me.”

More than 250 people died and a thousand others were injured in a three-train accident that occurred on the evening of June 2 at Bahanaga Station in the Balasore district of Odisha.

ALSO READ: Coromandel Express wrongly entered goods train track: Report

Recalling the harrowing time, Raju said, “I was on my way to Howrah from Cuttack. I was travelling in a general compartment. It was too hot and I came out near the door to get some wind.”

“Suddenly, I can hear people shouting. I saw our train collide with a goods train. There was a fire. And then there was a loud thud, just like one when an electric transformer burst. I was hit by something and I lost my senses for some time. All I remember is that the train got overturned,” Raju recalled.

But despite suffering an injury to his head, Raju responded to the call of passengers in need of help. “There were two girls who were standing at the toilet passageway. They got stuck as an overhead angle fell on them,” Raju said.

ALSO READ: HOW IT HAPPENED: Balasore train accident explained

“I can hear them crying. I was bleeding, but I tried to help them out. I pulled them out, but one of them died by then,” Raju recalled the harrowing experience. “All I can remember is that the other girl and I were sent to Cuttack Hospital. I blacked out on my way and came to my senses after two days at the hospital,” he added.

Raju admitted that he was so terrified by the experience that he cannot travel by train for now. “When I was released from the hospital, I could not travel back by train. Then they had to book a bus journey for me,” he added.

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