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Updated: June 5, 2013 14:59 IST

A phone call, an arduous journey and heartbreak

Petlee Peter
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Selvam at Central
Selvam at Central

Anthony Selvam from Muthamizh Nagar, Kodungaiyur arrived at Chennai Central Station around 7 a.m. on Monday, to receive his nieces, Jaycee and Rosie, whom he was meeting after four years. But all he got was a telephone call from the Railways around 8 a.m. stating that the train Tamil Nadu Express (12622) in which the family was travelling had caught fire.

“My brother Thavamani (25), sister Ponmani (29), her two young children and her mother-in-law Elizabeth (46) were on berths 53, 54 and 56 in the S11 coach. Their names are not in the list of injured at Central,” said Selvam who, like many others, boarded a rescue train that left from Chennai Central on Monday morning to Nellore, along with his brother Maria Selvam and friend Kannan, hoping to find his five family members alive.

The five had boarded the Tamil Nadu Express at Jhansi, after a 10-day holiday in Delhi with Ponmani’s husband David Raj, who is with the Army. “My sister and kids had planned to spend a day in my house before heading to their home in Tirunelveli by train,” added Selvam, who was in tears.

Railway authorities said many bodies have been charred beyond recognition. According to the reservation chart, the youngest member in the coach was Srijit (13) from Bhopal but Ponamani’s children, who were below ten years of age, didn’t need tickets to accompany their family.

Late on Monday evening, Selvam spoke to The Hindu over the phone from Nellore, and said that bodies of the children as well as the other members of his family had been identified in a Nellore hospital.

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in north bound trains the TTEs allows persons in reserved coaches with
or without charging.the very object of reserving for comfortable journey
totally such cases any culprits who could have travelled in
could not be proved with records.which to be curtailed hereafter by
counter heart felt condolences to the members of deceased

from:  jayabal l
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 18:06 IST

While reading the report, I was hoping that Anthony will find all his
family members safe and sound, until I read the last paragraph. May the
lord Jesus give him, David Raj and his family the strength to bear this
enormous loss.

from:  James Gurung
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 17:54 IST

When the top brass is corrupt nothing will function properly. Our hearts are with the victims and their families. The UPA regime is only interested in their wealth, selfish and power.

Indians have suffered enough for long since independence and now I believe that Mohandas Gandhi made a mockery for struggling independence. The British would have developed the nation, maintained Law and order and discipline.

from:  Shiva
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 17:50 IST

It is really what we care about fellow men in India. We allow no standards in safety, no improvement as of now, I really urge RPF to not to allow no ticket no rail travel policy, this would not have happened, if this is the case. Normally these coaches are filled by commuters on wait listed , General ticket guys and even no ticket guys. Somebody might have carried some inflammable and 32 lives gone

from:  Ravindra
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 16:50 IST

It is a huge loss for him and his family. My heartfelt condolences. May
their souls rest in peace.

from:  Ravoof
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 11:51 IST

Really it is a heartbreak to know that Anthony Selvam could only find
the bodies of his loved ones at the end. Heartfelt condolences to him
and his family. Thanks to The Hindu for reporting this.

from:  Muthuraj S
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 10:42 IST

I am surprised that no fire alarm exists in compartments- they are very cheap-and
should have been installed. Most people do not sleep in trains and they would have
easily discovered the fire. May be someone carried inflammable fluid- resulting in an
uncontrollable fire- these should be prohibited trains by routine checks .
Unnecessary loss of life- in a bad way!

from:  Krishna
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 06:17 IST
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