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They know the real love and humanity
By K Hamza, Calicut

It was on a rainy Friday, 22 June, that the Mangalore-Chennai Mail's rear bogies derailed on the Kadalundi bridge and plunged into the river. As the train left the Kozhikode railway station at 5 pm, most of the passengers in the rear bogies were students and employees, going home after their routine works of the day, and they preferred this train to private buses for returning to their houses, located a few kilometers away from the city.

The loudspeakers of the mosques situated on both sides of the river blared, appealing to the people to come out of the houses for rescue operation. The blaring out the SOS appeals from the mosques first caused an amazing stir among the neighbourhood people who rushed to the spot , venturing the torrents of rain and deep slippery slush.
These common folks of different religions and walks of life had turned to be the first rescuers of the injured and the dead. The village fishermen with their small canoes reached the spot and jumped into the river to pick up those sinking victims. The labourers who were engaged in the construction of a parallel bridge near the ill-fated one also joined the rescue operation, with their pickaxes and crowbars. They climbed over the turtled bogies and broke them in an effort to extricate the injured, the dead and the dying from the twisted seats and berths.

Women and youngsters in the neighbourhood provided clothe pieces to use as bandages to stem the bleeding of the injured, and carried them to the nearest mosques which were used as temporary shelters for the victims. The rescuers tore off the wrecked bogies' berths and used as stretchers to carry the injured and the dead bodies and put them in all available vehicles. The drivers of these private vehicles cooperated to carry the injured to the hospital free of charge.

On hearing the news of the train tragedy, a motley crowd of porters, vendors, rickshaw drivers and others stood holding hands on both sides of the main roads upto the hospital in Kozhikode city, sidelining the motorists, in an effort to make smooth and speedy passage of ambulances carrying bodies. People of various communities and faiths lined up in front of the hospitals to donate blood. Hotels, restaurants and even the push-cart tea vendors near the hospital provided tea and coffee to the rescuers and the relatives of the victims, without accepting money till their stock ran out.

All the hospital staff including doctors, nurses and the police were busy offering their services at the casualty wards and mortuary. Youths of various organizations and locals held hands in two rows to make way to the casualty wards only for bonafide relatives, newsmen and office staff, preventing unwanted curious onlookers. These unknown volunteers' rescue operation continued upto the wee hours at both the ill-fated bridge and the hospitals.

Such a timely rescue operation by selfless common people is worth emulation example for other parts of the nation since train accidents would be a bonanza for looters.

The next morning, Government's Crisis Management Group and the Navy's diving team started their work. There was a flow of "tragedy tourists" under the camouflage of curious onlookers to the accident spot. The RSS cadres in their khaki knickers trousers and black caps and political voluntary organizations had been roaming on the spot to extend a helping hand., after the rescue operation was over. The local people who spent their valuable time, money, and blood in the rescue and relief operation sank back to oblivion. The photos of the ‘pseudo-rescuers’ and volunteers of Hindutva cadres have occupied the front pages of newspapers.

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