Nearly 30 after Perumon rail tragedy, judicial probe elusive

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Kollam, July 8 (IANS) Exactly 29 years after 10 coaches of the speeding Bangalore-Thiruvananthapuram Central Island Express fell into Ashtamudi lake in Kollam, leaving 105 dead and hundreds injured, a judicial probe into the tragedy is still awaited.

Despite numerous requests and demands from various quarters, the judicial probe has not taken place. The reason forwarded was that a tornado had hit Perumon bridge over the lake, but later other reasons were also given.

Sugathan, who works in a fishing boat, was on his boat and recalls witnessing the train falling into the river.

“That day will never be erased from my memory. It was a nerve breaking experience when we broke open the AC coaches and tried to save as many people as possible. Those moments will never go away, and at times I still shiver when I think of it,” said Sugathan.

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Today the only thing that remains of the tragedy at the accident site is a memorial dedicated to those who died with the names of the 105 etched on it.

Every year on this day, friends and relatives of those who died assemble at the memorial, say a silent prayer and disperse.

An 85-year-old man who did not wish to be identified lost his mother, wife and a daughter in the tragedy. The man now lives alone, shuttling between here and his home town in Kottayam district.

The tragedy has also become a theme of two films.



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