Train knocks down 14-year-old boy

About 150 protesters staged a rail roko near Sandhurst Road Railway Station on Tuesday afternoon after a 14-year-old boy lost his life after being run over by a CST-bound local train while crossing the tracks. Central Railway services were affected for close to an hour. According to Railway police officials, the incident occurred at around 11am between Sandhurst Road and Byculla railway stations on Tuesday.

Perilous journey:Schoolchildren cross the railway tracks near Sandhurst Road station with police personnel looking on, shortly aftera 14-year-old boy was run over by a train on Tuesday.— Photo: Vijay Bate

Officials said that Gautam Vora (14) was a Class VIII student of the St Peter’s High School in Sandhurst Road and a resident of Noor Baugh. He was rushed to JJ Hospital where he was declared brought dead. The news of his death spread through the Ekta Nagar slums adjacent to Sandhurst Road station and over 150 residents poured onto the tracks at around 1 pm and staged a protest.

“The protestors said with the recent dismantling of the Hancock bridge, they were left with no option but to cross the tracks and this was leading to deaths. They demanded that a foot over bridge be constructed and refused to move off the tracks till their demand was met. Services on all four tracks of the Central Railway were stopped,” said a Railway Police officer.

Officials said services came to a standstill at around 1.10 pm. A large force of the CST Railway Police first reached the spot to deal with any potential law and order problems. Officials with the Railway Police and the CR administration also rushed to the spot to placate protestors.

Finally, after prolonged negotiations, officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation reached the spot and assured them that an FOB or an alternative would be provided so that people did not have to cross the tracks.

The protesters then dispersed under tight watch of railway police personnel. Services resumed at around 1:55 pm. “There was some initial stone pelting by the protestors but it quickly died down, and the protest was peaceful after that. No casualties or damage to property occurred during the protest,” said a Railway Police officer.

However, people were crossing tracks within minutes of the protest. Citizens said there was a foot over bridge at Sandhurst Road and Byculla stations, but the Hancock bridge was located between both the stations and convenient for many. But railway officials maintained that people had no reason to cross the tracks when the bridges existed. On Monday, the Bombay High Court had pulled up the Railways for its insensitivity towards the rise in deaths on rail tracks.