Kashmiri youths seeking admission feared dead

The journey was meant to lead them to a wonderful world of educational excellence, but it ended in tragedy for some. Among the dead and the survivors of the fire in the New Delhi-Chennai Tamil Nadu Express on Monday, were also students and their family members who were on their way to pursue higher studies in Tamil Nadu.

Two Kashmiri students who were heading for admission to a private university in Chidambaram are feared dead while two of their friends escaped unhurt, police sources said.

A. Sajad and his three friends had boarded the train at Bhopal and occupied berths 41-44 in S-11 coach. While he and A. Shavbir (23) managed to escape without any injury, the fate of Riyaz (25) and A. Showkat (24) is not known. Their names did not figure in the list of injured passengers released by the South Central Railway on Monday evening. The students had applied to Annamalai University for M. Phil studies.

“Most of the deceased could not be identified as the bodies were charred beyond recognition. Since Sajad’s friends are not among the injured, they are suspected to be among the dead. Those who managed to escape reached Chennai Central around noon,” a Government Railway Police official said. “Since the data has to come from many other States, it is taking a while to get all the details confirmed,” said the official.

Sajad (24) of Jammu lodged a complaint with the Government Railway Police at Chennai Central on Monday stating that he had lost his original graduate and post-graduate certificates along with his mobile phone and credit card.

“My son told me that he would be going to Tamil Nadu from Bhopal for higher studies. He has not contacted me so far…his mobile is not reachable. We are anxiously waiting to hear from him,” Sajad’s father told The Hindu from Jammu.

The group was not the only one. T. Ganesan, a passenger from New Delhi said, “I was travelling with a couple who had come to get their son admitted in an engineering college here. They got down safely but the son went inside again, hoping to find their suitcase but he never returned.”

The passenger he was referring to was Palak Singh, a 19-year-old student who boarded the train with his parents at Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh.

This is the month of admissions and the State has huge number of applicants from other places. “We have nearly 300 students from other States, all expected to join around this week, because we started with our admission process a week ago,” said an official from Annamalai University. The official added, “We are ready to defer our admissions by a week or two if the students need time to refurbish certificates from their colleges.”

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