Mumbai: Dhaval Swali was losing hope rapidly. As he went from compartment to compartment, his father Hamir Swali was nowhere to be found. Mr. Swali was one of the passengers on the Mumbai-bound Jnaneswari Express, which was rammed by a goods train early on Friday.
At 9.10 p.m. on Saturday, the Jnaneswari ‘relief' train, as it was called a day after the incident, pulled into Mumbai's Lokmanya Tilak Terminus carrying some survivors of the tragedy. However, it brought no relief to young Dhaval.
“My dad is missing. I have come to check if he is there,” he told The Hindu. He was accompanied by a relative who clutched Mr. Swali's photograph and went frantically from passenger to passenger asking if any of them had seen the man in the picture. “We saw him on TV being taken to a hospital, but there is no sign of him,” she said.
One of the passengers told the hapless family that she had indeed seen Mr. Swali whose head was bandaged and who was in a conscious state. Their search drawing a blank, the Swalis had to leave the station with all hopes shattered.
For many other eager families, the train conveyed a happy occasion.
The moment he got off, four-year-old Shameen Sheikh threw his arms around his cousin Nazia. Four members of the Sheikh had come to receive eight of their kin, all of whom turned up safe and sound.
Dr. Binayak Pani, medical officer with the Rourkela municipal corporation, was all praise for the Railways' response. “I have seen many accidents. I think the Railways handled an incident like this efficiently,” he said.
On the other hand, an irate Shabana Sheikh flayed the Railways with her caustic criticism. “There were absolutely no facilities. They just gave a train. There was no security guard on the train. Why? Go tell Mamata Banerjee,” she exhorted the media.