RPF cop says he alerted station official in minutes

The Asian Age.  | Priyanka Navalkar

Metros, Mumbai

He said that since the bridge was overcrowded, he found it difficult to move from the point he was standing towards the staircase.

Overcrowding on the bridge led to the stampede.

Mumbai: Railway Protection Force (RPF) constable C. Shivamurat, who was on duty on the day of the stampede at Elphinstone Road on September 29, told the police on Friday that he alerted the stationmaster within minutes of hearing the commotion at the station.

He said that since the bridge was overcrowded, he found it difficult to move from the point he was standing towards the staircase.

Mr Shivamurat told the police that he initially saw people running here and there, and called the stationmaster when someone cried that the bridge “was collapsing”.

He told the police that he had made two calls to the stationmaster. While the first went unanswered, the next was answered, he said.

As a proof of his alertness, he also produced the call information from his phone stating the time and duration of his calls to the investigating officers.

Mr Shivamurat had been summoned for an enquiry at Dadar police station on Friday. The police has recorded statements of over 60 persons as a part of the enquiry, and confirmed that Mr Shivmurat had also recorded his statement. Clearing the air about his absence over earlier summons, Mr Shivmurat told the police that he was a part of a separate enquiry on the incident, which had barred him from revealing any details about it.

The police sources, who are investigating the matter, said that the probe has not moved at a point wherein a conclusion can be drawn as to who is to be held accountable for the stampede.

Divakar Shelke, senior police inspector of Dadar police station said, “We are enquiring about the incident from the eyewitnesses, the injured and the locals, who saw the incident taking pace within a matter of minutes. Since the investigation is underway, it will only be better if we do not jump to conclusions.”

Meanwhile, the bodies of the 23 persons who died in the stampede have been identified and handed over to their respective families, while the belongings too are being sent to their houses with a statement of receipt.