Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar, who visited the private hospital on Monday, told Y. Yasmin, Mr. Manauf’s wife, that Aryadan Mohammed, the Minister in charge of Railways, had conveyed to him the government decision.

The State government will foot the medical bill of M. Manauf, 47, for treatment of a bullet injury he sustained when the service pistol of a Railway Protection Force (RPF) constable went off accidentally on Friday.

Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar, who visited the private hospital on Monday, told Y. Yasmin, Mr. Manauf’s wife, that Aryadan Mohammed, the Minister in charge of Railways, had conveyed to him the government decision. The government had sanctioned Rs.25,000 as emergency aid.

Mr. Sivakumar was accompanied by Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Rajesh Agrawal and Additional DRM V. Rajeevan.

Free legal aid

Later, at a press conference, Mr. Agrawal said he had handed over to Ms. Yasmin the application forms for making a compensation claim to the Railway Claims Tribunal. He said the family was likely to submit the applications in a day or two. The State government had agreed to provide free legal assistance to the family to claim compensation.

He said Railways had decided to shift the RPF armoury and the reservation cash counter to a place not frequented by passengers. Railways would put in place a system for banks to come and collect the daily cash from the counter instead of Railway officials going to them to deposit the money. The RPF constable in question was to have accompanied the cash bag to the bank that day.

He said Railways had nothing to hide in the incident. A preliminary inquiry was done on Saturday. The full inquiry was completed on Monday. Railways were like the Indian Army, and it did not run away from any problem. In fact, the constable whose weapon went off accompanied Mr. Manauf to the hospital and paid the initial admission expenses. The RPF association had collected Rs.80,000 to be given to Mr. Manauf’s family, but Mr. Manauf’s wife declined that assistance.

Asked if there was any delay in taking Mr. Manauf to the hospital, Mr. Agrawal replied that the injured man was taken to the hospital six minutes after the incident. A report on the incident had been sent to the Railway Board.