On Saturday, 14 coaches of the Kalinga Utkal Express train derailed seconds after crossing Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh. The eyewitness accounts of the derailment bring out a gruesome picture, with crumpled coaches slamming into each other.
Passengers in the train, which runs from Puri to Haridwar every day, included Hindu saints who were injured in the accident. Some of them told the Times of India, how, they owed their lives nearby residents who rushed in to save them. And yes, the residents happened to adherents of the Islamic faith.
“I remember my head bumping into the seat in front of me, throwing me at least two feet forward. I was in pain and could hear screams from all directions. Honestly, if it hadn’t been for Muslims in the area who rushed to the spot and pulled us out of the train’s coach, we might not have survived,” Bhagwan Das Maharaj told TOI.
He was travelling with six other saints to take a dip in the Ganga.
Another saint, Morni Das, said, “We believe in God and we saw his power soon after the accident. There are times when people politicise Hindu-Muslim ties, but there has always been love between the two communities.”
The saints also spoke about how, as soon as they were pulled them out of the coach, their rescuers brought them water, khaats (cots) and also arranged for a private doctor.