Mumbai :  The family and friends of Dhaval Lodhya, the 19-year-old who died in the Titwala derailment, held a dharna at CST on Monday. Nearly 250 people participated in it.

On their way from their home in Ghatkopar to CST, they gathered signatures of commuters who agreed that the railways were to blame for Dhaval’s death. By evening, they had 10,000 signatures.

Dhaval was flung out of the train and sustained head injuries. “He was lying there without any medical attention for at least an hour while the Railway Protection Force (RPF) was busy barricading the area. He was breathing heavily while we were pleading with people for help with no stretcher available,” said Jay Lothariya, a friend who was travelling with Dhaval.

Dhaval’s parents and a few relatives met the Divisional Railway Manager at CST. Vijay Lodhya, Dhaval’s uncle, said, “We have been assured by the railway officials that an inquiry by the commissioner of railway safety will be held and a conclusion will be reached soon. While the inquiry will commence on March 27 we have been asked to come forward with any information we have about the accident.”

I P Chaudhary, a resident of Dombivali, who signed the petition against the railways, said, “What the boy had to face was horrifying. Lying there for hours without any medical help. Such mistakes should not be repeated, there needs to be a change in the system which has to be taken care of.”

Divisional Railway Manager Mukesh Nigam said, “We have given an advertisement in newspapers asking people to come forward with facts about the case. Only after the inquiry we will be able to determine the cause of the incident and steps will be taken accordingly.”

While Dhaval was lying without a stretcher for over an hour the only compensation the family will get from the railways is Rs 4 lakh. Lawyer Datta Godbole said, “The maximum compensation in any case that a victim is awarded is Rs 4 lakh. The family can claim for the compensation which will be awarded after  negligence by the railways has been proved in court.”

Criticising the railways for the delay in helping a railway accident victim, activist Sameer Zaveri himself who has lost both his legs,  said, “The railways have a full-fledged disaster management system wherein they have to coordinate with the nearest hospital and arrange an ambulance and medical aid where they cannot reach. But the problem with railways is everything is on paper only. The person responsible should be not only debarred from service but also a criminal case should be lodged against him.”

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