As Ravana was ablaze, death came in a flash

Since Friday night, Vijay Kumar, 44, the inconsolable father of 18-year-old Manish Kumar, has been running from one hospital to another in the hope of finding the remains of his son, who was presumably killed in the Amritsar train mishap. “I saw his severed head lying on the railway track in a picture circulating on WhatsApp around 3 a.m. Since then, I have been searching for him in one hospital after another, but I have been unsuccessful. My world is finished,” said Mr. Kumar, a resident of Dasmesh Nagar who runs a shoe business. At Amritsar’s Guru Nanak Dev Government Hospital, Mr. Kumar accompanied the police to the mortuary to identify what could possibly be the limbs of his son. “I don’t know if they are my son’s. Even his head, which I saw on WhatsApp, is not traceable,” he said, as he broke down. In the mournful ambience across Amritsar, Mr. Vijay was not alone. Scores of relatives of those killed and injured in the tragedy could be seen anxiously running around. Dr. Mayank, who has been attending to the victims overnight, said that most of them suffered head and limb injuries of a serious nature. “There is a constant flow of victims, most of them belonging to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar,” he said. Jagandan, a labourer from Hardoi in U.P., is under treatment in the surgical ward for head and leg injuries. “As the Ravana effigy was burning, people were shooting videos,” he said. “Suddenly, they started running across the tracks. No horn of the speeding train was heard. The next moment, limbs were flying all around and I was hit by one. I was thrown to the ground.”

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