Sunday, February 25, 2018
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 hc allahabad

One was amazed to find that top guns were sparing no time to give ‘clean chits’ to their subordinates. The cries of the public meant nothing to them. They can’t even say that they could not hear those cries because the TV news channels was featuring the shrieks and howls of the relatives of the victims who were shouting at the top of their voices to complain that no relief was forthcoming. It was easy to say that doctors were busy in hospitals, saving lives of those taken there in a critical condition. Why couldn‘t they be at the station as well—at the very source of the tragedy? Had they attended to the patients at the Railway station itself, many of them would have survived. The Bosses didn’t realize that a stitch in time would have saved nine. And who took the injured to hospitals? Not necessarily the official authorities. In several cases people were lifting the injured themselves, wrapping them up in bed-sheets and asking passersby where a hospital could be reached. There was no inquiry counter in sight to help the stranded people.

I recall an incident that occurred some years ago on a junction platform. A woman passenger had to be detrained at Allahabad because she was in acute labour pain. The people rushed to the railway staff available at hand and requested them to arrange for a doctor. The Railway hospital is close-by. But no one bothered to help the woman in acute pain. Ultimately she gave birth to a child on the open platform itself. It is the unknown womenfolk around who helped the woman to deliver the baby and then covered her with cloth.

It is high time for the authorities to realize that they cannot go about distributing clean chits in a hurry. How they can have the heart to do that, defies logic. If they are themselves appointing inquiry committees, why the hell can’t they wait for these committees to deliver their reports?

Apparently not accepting the ‘clean chits’—the devalued clean chits if one may say so—distributed lavishly by top functionaries to the subordinates below, and identifying more with the pain and woes of the people, the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court has directed the Chief Secretary and Secretary Railways to seal records connected with the movement of Kumbh Mela committee members as well as well as senior officers along with documents and files relating to law and order and safety measures taken till the time of the stampede. They have been asked to submit reports to the High Court Registrar within two days. The Railways have also been asked to produce records relating to special arrangements made at the Junction station as also in the stations of the neighbouring districts. They will have to submit an affidavit detailing the number of Railway police and medical personnel posted at the Railway station at the time of the tragedy. It will be interesting to know the contents of the replies, as and when submitted to the registrar. The High Court’s observations will clarify to a large extent whether the ‘Clean Chit’ (Show rain)claim is a reality or a drama.


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