Elphinstone stampede: Amid mass tragedy, eyewitnesses report molestation, theft

According to people present at the site, apart from trapped women getting molested, incidents of theft in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, was also witnessed.

Days after the stampede at the Elphinstone railway station claimed the lives of 22 people, leaving another 60 with major injuries, the Mumbai police is now initiating a probe to look into incidence of molestation and theft during the tragic calamity. The unfortunate incidence at the foot-over bridge near the Elphinstone railway station incited nation-wide outrage after several lives were compromised due to mismanagement by the concerned authorities.

And while the tragedy took dig at the normalcy of India’s financial capital, reports of molestation and theft were also quoted by eyewitnesses. According to people present at the site, apart from trapped women getting molested, incidents of theft in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, was also witnessed.

As reported by The Hindu, a woman victim was molested by a bystander, seconds before she was breathing her last.  A video clip of the incident depicts how the woman was physically harassed while she was trapped amid a pile of victims, moments before she dropped her hand and rested for the final time.

An aggrieved eye-witness, named Jayshree Kanade, was quoted by The Hindu saying, “Many people stole purses and gold ornaments from women victims. This molestation video is really shameful. How can someone molest a girl fighting for life and asking for help? The culprits should be punished.”

Another resident of Elphinstone road, Sandesh Bahadur said, “The molestation video is shameful and without even watching it, one feels like punishing the coward responsible. We rushed to help. Women were crying for help. We couldn’t save many of them due to the crowd on the bridge.” Bhandup resident Anjali Bhadauria said, “Many women were wearing sarees as it was Dussehra; their clothes tore while pulling them out of the pile of bodies.”

And with the visuals of the tragedy, along with clips of insensitive people taking advantage of the situation, heating up the intensity of the situation, Niket Kaushik, Commissioner, Government Railway Police, said, “This case comes under Mumbai Police, but I will also initiate an inquiry.”

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