KOLKATA: plugged in, a 20-year-old second-year student of Rahara Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Centenary College was run over by a train while he was crossing the tracks near a level crossing adjacent to the Khardah station on Tuesday morning.

Maitra, a meritorious chemistry honours student, was returning home at a housing complex off BT Road near Sodepur Girja More from tuition at Rahara. According to witnesses, in spite of the level-crossing gate being down, the youngster, Soham Maitra, walked onto the tracks, with his earphones plugged in. As he continued walking, a Sealdah-bound Intercity Express knocked him down. Residents of the area claimed the body lay on the tracks for over an hour, during which multiple trains ran him over.

“Around 10.15am, the boy, with a bag on his back and ear phones plugged in, got onto the tracks despite the gate at the level crossing being down. People standing nearby shouted, but he didn‘t pay heed to their warnings as he was glued to his phone, listening to music or talking to someone, as he walked on tracks 4. He was so engrossed that he didn‘t even notice the down Asansol-Sealdah Intercity Express rushing towards him, honking,” a fruit-seller, Gopal Ghosh, said. Locals alleged the railway police took a long while to remove the body from the tracks, as a result of which trains kept passing over it. “The body lay there for over an hour and was mutilated as at least four more trains on the Sealdah-Ranaghat main section of eastern railway crushed it. The railway police removed the body around 11.30am,” another resident said.

Ashesh Biswas, superintendent of railway police, Sealdah, however, told TOI, “Being busy on mobile while crossing the tracks could have led to the accident. Doms had to be sent from Sealdah to lift the body and that caused a delay.”

A pall of gloom descended on his housing complex, where neighbours and relatives tried to console his father, Subharanjan, a private firm employee, and mother, Suparna, a homemaker. “His mother has fainted at least twice. Soham was their only child. We loved him for his simplicity,” Ajay Krishna Bhattacharjee, a neighbour, told TOI. Condemning the railway cops‘ delay in recovering the body, he said, “The authorities should have picked his body up immediately.”

A senior railway official said the accident could have been avoided as the express driver repeatedly honked on seeing the youth on the tracks. “We have been holding campaigns and appealing to commuters to avoid using a mobile or ear phones while crossing tracks,” the official said.

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