The busiest and the deadliest: 39 injured, 23 dead in Mumbai stampede
After the tragic incident in Mumbai on Friday morning, the authorities grabbed the chance for debating and political blaming. Amongst all the political chaos, the real reason for the incident was lost in a plethora of blames and rumours. Approximately 23 people were killed, and 39 were injured in the stampede that happened at rush hour on the foot over bridge that connects the local stations of Elphinstone Road and Parel. The cause for the incident is cited as being the sudden downpour in Central Mumbai. The sudden rains led to people scrambling for shelter. The arrival of trains on both the platforms increased the crowd on the bridge. In all the chaos, witnesses claim that they heard panicked screams as a stampede ensued. Rumors about the bridge collapsing also added to the chaos.
A witness recounts that he was stuck below four men and the men below him had already died. He had almost accepted his fate before being rescued after almost an hour. The Indian Express reported a witness account of a nearby tea vendor. He says,
“It was raining heavily in the morning. Those who were inside the station preferred to remain there. However, a huge number of people on the road also rushed in to seek shelter and got stuck at that particular staircase. We heard screams for at least 30 minutes.”
Mumbai has one of the largest networks of the country and yet its maintenance leaves little to be proud of. There have been many accidents in Mumbai due to torrential rains. Witnesses say that the stampede worsened as officials took no steps to control the crowd while officials maintain that help reached the place immediately.
15 ambulances from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and first-aid reached the place of the incident. The last victim was taken to the KEM hospital at 11:30 AM, almost an hour after the incident. Footwear lay strewn on the bridge mixed with holy flowers that devotees were carrying.
After the horrifying incident, questions about the safety of railways were raised. Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal, tweets that he has asked for an inquiry. IndiaSpend reported that 3380 people have died in rail accidents in Mumbai over the past year.
Defending the present administration, Ravinder Bhaker, CPRO, Western Railway, said,
“Lack of proper infrastructure of the bridge cannot be cited as the reason for the accident. We already had plans to make an alternate bridge to connect the two stations and tenders will be floated for the same soon,”
as reported by The Indian Express.
As a consequence, Modi’s bullet train plans might be stalled.
 Source: The Indian Express