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Updated: December 29, 2013 01:36 IST

‘I am going to sleep now ….’

T. V. Sivanandan
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Bhimayya Shahabadkar
Bhimayya Shahabadkar

You could say death was stalking Bhimayya Shahabadkar. Mr. Shahabadkar, a former member of the Gulbarga Zilla Panchayat, his family members and friends numbering to about 50, had gone to Bangalore to attend a wedding and were returning to Sedam near Gulbarga in the Nanded Express. None of them had confirmed tickets. While Mr. Shahabadkar boarded the ill-fated B1 coach, the rest of the group got into unreserved or second-class reserved compartments to occupy available seats.

When the B1 coach caught fire, all Mr. Shahabadkar’s friends could do was to look on helplessly. “He spoke to me on the phone at 12.58 a.m. and said the travelling ticket examiner (TTE) had allotted a berth to him and he was going to sleep. Those were his last words…” recalled a traumatised Saroja, Bhimayya’s daughter.

Mr. Shahabadkar has been identified by his daughter based on his personal belongings.

According to Satish Reddy, who had accompanied him, the bogie caught fire some time around 3 a.m. on Saturday and was burning for nearly one hour before help could arrive to douse the fire.

According to Bidar MP and former Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh, some of the victims were going to Nanded to visit the famous gurudwara. Mr. Singh left for Bidar to be in touch with the relatives of the victims and provide all required help.

Mr. Singh expressed shock over the incident and offered his condolences to the families of those who had lost their dear ones in the accident.

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