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Severed head landed on my chest, says train accident survivor

Guwahati: A 27-year-old man from Assam is still in shock and hasn’t been able to eat since the June 2 train accident in Odisha’s Balasore after seeing the severed head of a fellow passenger.

Rupak Das from Uttar Maral village in Sonitpur district was shifted to Guwahati from Balasore on Monday night by the Assam government. He is currently being treated at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH). "A severed head came rolling down like a football from the emergency window of the Coromandel Express onto my chest,” Das said Tuesday.

Das had missed his train to Pondicherry and had booked a ticket in Howrah-Chennai Coromandel Express. “I suddenly heard a loud thud. I knew the train had derailed. I looked outside from a window and saw the engine sitting above a goods train. Even without the engine, our train moved for some time before coming to a halt," Das told PTI. Das broke the emergency glass and fell out of the coach. Two more people followed and fell over him, he said.

"Within seconds, the Bengaluru-Howrah Express crashed into our train and our coach was almost crushed by it. At that moment, I saw a person's severed head come rolling down like a football,” Das said. Das said since the accident, he has not able to eat properly.

Das works in an adhesive factory in Pondicherry and his wife is employed in a pen manufacturing unit. He had come home to drop off his pregnant wife. GMCH superintendent Dr Abhijit Sarma said the patient is stable.

"We have conducted an MRI scan of his right knee after he complained. He is being counselled to overcome his mental shock," Sarma told PTI.

Das alleged that initially he was just kept in a local hospital in Balasore and no treatment was provided. "When West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited the hospital a day after the accident, I requested her to tell doctors for better treatment," he said.

"Only after Banerjee asked doctors to attend to me, my treatment started. There was no communication from the Assam government until I made a video and uploaded it on Facebook," he added. Seeing his video, an Assamese woman from Golaghat settled in Balasore came to meet him in hospital. She went to the accident site, searched for his luggage and brought it back to Das.

The three trains involved in the accident were the Howrah-Chennai Coromandel Express, Bengaluru-Howrah Express and a stationary goods train. Of the 278 dead persons, 177 bodies have been identified so far and handed over to their families.

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