Balasore Train Tragedy: NHRC Seeks Action Report, Urges Preventive Measures

New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has requested action taken reports (ATR) from the Chairman of the Railway Board, Government of India, and the Chief Secretary of Odisha regarding preventive, compensatory, and rehabilitative measures for a permanent solution to prevent rail accidents. The NHRC’s directive follows a tragic train accident involving the Shalimar-Chennai-bound Coromandel Express, Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, and a stationary goods train at Bahanaga Bazar railway station in Balasore district on June 2.

In this incident, 293 passengers lost their lives, with 287 fatalities occurring at the scene. The NHRC took note of a petition filed by lawyer and rights activist Radhakanta Tripathy and has asked for responses from the concerned authorities within four weeks. The petition alleges that the state government and the railways have violated the rights of the deceased, injured, and other victims. The authorities have been accused of failing to preserve the bodies properly until identification by family members.

Compensation cases for the next of kin of the deceased victims are still pending, as fake claimants have come forward. The bodies remain in hospitals for identification, and the number of deaths may be higher than officially declared. Proper treatment and compensation for the injured have not been provided, and many of the victims’ valuables and belongings have been stolen. Additionally, individuals from West Bengal, Odisha, and other states are reported missing.

The petition appeals to the Commission to monitor the case until justice is served for all victims. The NHRC has directed its Registry to send a copy of the complaint to the Chief Secretary of the Odisha government and the Chairman of the Railway Board, Ministry of Railways, Government of India, requesting an action taken report within four weeks.

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