Bihar train accident: 37 killed as Rajyarani Express runs over pilgrims
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At least 37 pilgrims including women and children standing on rail tracks were killed when a speeding express train ploughed into them today in Bihar's Khagaria district, triggering angry protests by locals who attacked train driver, set ablaze a coach and vandalised the station.
The 'kanwarias' (devotees of Lord Shiva) were on the tracks after alighting from the Samastipur-Saharsa passenger train when they were run over by the Saharsa-Patna Rajyarani Express travelling at 80 kmph, officials said.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that 37 persons, including women and children, were killed. Among them were 13 women, four children and 20 men. The victims hailed from Khagaria, Sahrsa, Munger and Naughachia. 24 others who sustained injuries were admitted to the hospital here.
The pilgrims were going to nearby Katyani Sthan temple to offer 'jalabhishek' to Lord Shiva on the fourth and final Monday of the holy month of Shrawan.
Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar said the train was not supposed to halt at Dhamara Ghat and was given clearance to pass through the area but the devotees were on the tracks thinking they could stop the train.
Though the driver applied emergency brakes, it was too late by then, he said, adding an internal inquiry has been ordered into the incident.
The pilgrims were going to nearby Katyani Sthan temple to offer 'jalabhishek' to Lord Shiva on the fourth and final Monday of the holy month of Shrawan when the mishap took place.
Train driver attacked
Soon after the accident, local people attacked the train driver.
Superintendent of Police S K Jha said that the engine of the Samastipur-Saharsa passenger train and an AC coach of Saharsa-Patna Rajyarani Express were set on fire by the enraged locals.