Railway official in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday that the Railway Act had no provision to provide monetary compensation in such an incident.
The accidental firing from the service pistol of a Railway Protection Force constable at the Central Railway Station here on Friday night, injuring M. Manauf, 47, has focussed public attention on the rules governing disbursement of compensation by Railways.
Railway Protection Force personnel who accompanied Mr. Manauf to a private hospital in the city paid Rs. 10,000 as initial hospital charges.
Later, however, they told his wife, Y. Yasmin, that there was no legal provision to pay more as compensation.
Mr. Manauf, an employee of the University of Kerala, had gone to the railway station on Friday night to book a ticket to Madurai to take his four-year-old daughter there for medical treatment. A bullet entered his stomach and exited through the back.
To queries from The Hindu, a senior Railway official said here on Sunday that the Railway Act had no provision to provide monetary compensation in such an incident.
“First of all, this incident, for us, is unprecedented. It should never have happened and our hearts go out to the injured person and his family. But then he was not a passenger and the incident was not an operational Railway accident as it is defined in our Act. Thus, as an organisation, we simply cannot offer any money for treatment, now. What we can do is send a report to New Delhi where the Railway Minister can authorise payment of money and decide how much we should pay. We will discuss that on Monday,” the official said.
K.J. Joy, Commandant of the Railway Protection Force here, said Mr. Manauf was taken to the private hospital by the personnel because he and his wife asked them to do so.
He agreed that there might have been a small delay in taking the injured man to the hospital because everyone, including Railway Protection Force personnel, was stunned into inaction when the gun went off.
“It took some minutes for our personnel to realise that the bullet had hit a person. Though we paid an amount initially at the hospital, we cannot officially pay any money for the treatment. This is why the Railway Protection Force Association members are frantically pooling money to be handed over to Mr. Manauf’s family. It may be only a small part of the hospital bill, though,” Mr. Joy said.
He denied that the Railway Protection Force was in any manner shielding Ishakiya Pani, the constable involved in the incident.
“We have suspended him from service and have launched our own inquiry. There is no question of shielding anyone,” he added.