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Elphinstone Railway Station Stampede: More Than Time Lost!

Heavy rains bring disease, plagues, and panic. However, this monsoon unraveled a disaster that had been waiting to happen. The untimely rain, shocked many people, all who in a frenzy to stay dry rushed towards the foot overbridge. Eventually, all the panic-driven pushing and shoving resulted in 22 dead and 39 injured.

Caught Off Guard!

Abrupt rain surprised the daily jostling commuters of Mumbai. The rain which made an appearance out of the blue forced the masses to take shelter under a not only narrow but also languished foot overbridge linking Elphinstone and Parel stations. Four trains arriving simultaneously added to the rush, and within seconds all havoc broke loose as the commuters began to feel the crush. The footbridge well overcrowded soon provided no haven, but a nightmare as victims vividly recall the very scene. Some recall not even an inch of room spared, which soon resulted in suffocation and people falling over each other. Live videos showed people desperate to survive resorting to jumping from the overpass and others dangling from the railing for dear life. Dead bodies covered the ground as the survivors scrambled towards the exits after the commotion resided.

Touchy Topic

Amidst the shock of the stampede, news spread like wildfire of doctors and hospital staff insensitively inscribing the foreheads of the corpses. This resulted in an incident on Saturday at 5.45pm in which 6 men claiming to belong to political party Shiv Sena abruptly barged into the head of the forensics’ office and attempted to number his forehead with a 0 in protest against the hospital’s newly adopted practice. One of the men responded by saying “Such numbering is done for dead terrorists. We want to write zero on his forehead because these doctors have shown zero humanity.” Meanwhile, the hospital staff has claimed to do so aided in the identification of 19 bodies within a mere 3 hours.


With word of mouth still as effective as years before, there seems to be no shortage in rumors as to the cause of the stampede. Many attribute this tragedy to the untimely and uninvited rain causing the stagnation of the crowd which soon grew into a chaotic mass of impatient people. A witness has informed the media of a flower vendor’s cry of “phool gir gaya (flowers have fallen)” being mistaken as “pul gir gaya (the bridge has fallen)” that might have triggered the panic. The police are investigating reports that a short-circuit caused a loud sound that resulted in the panic.


Despite Mumbai being home to seven and a half million commuters, the Mumbai Railways dismally accommodates its commuters. Such accommodation or rather lack of it, has led to Mumbai Railway Police data records of nearly 38,000 train accident related deaths since 2007 that is more than 3,200 deaths every year and an average of nine deaths every day. Such figures have been compared to those of warzones. Angry commuters and residents have proclaimed the bridge as too old and narrow and not strong enough to take the busy sector,  an inevitable disaster. Increasing rail facilities and maintenance of existing infrastructure would aid greatly, but nothing has been done, despite multiple demands for more railway bridges for the area. With neglect on such a large scale, many question the bullet train project to link Mumbai with Ahmedabad. Are basic rail upgrades not a greater necessity?  Local trains being the lifeline for the 20 million people of Mumbai this should be government’s prime priority!

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