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Not compensation, but a govt job will help: Athlete

Last updated on: April 14, 2011 16:34 IST

The young athlete who lost her leg after being thrown out of a train by robbers on Thursday demanded a government job, saying a "small compensation" will not help her.

"A few thousand rupees cannot last long. I have a full life to live and what I need is not a small compensation but a permanent government job," said 23-year-old Arunima Sinha, a national-level football and volleyball player, from her hospital bed.

Arunima alias Sonu lost her leg after she was pushed out of the Padmavat Express in Bareilly on Monday night by three men who were trying to rob her when she was travelling to Delhi to appear for an examination.

She said her dreams have been shattered.

"My problem is that I won't be able to realise my dreams. I am thinking of how to fulfill my dreams," she said.

Arunima's sister Laxmi said her condition was stable, though she had fever.

"Doctors have asked us to wait for two days after which Arunima might undergo surgery, if needed," Laxmi said.

"I want to appeal to the state government to ensure the security of women traveling in trains so that such tragic incidents do not happen again to anyone," Arunima's sister Lakshmi said.

Lakshmi said a Railway Police Force official visited her in the hospital at nearly 2.30 am and gave her Rs 5,000 for treatment.

He told her that a probe was going on into the incident.

"Till now the treatment is almost free. We have to spend a nominal amount," she added.

A case under Section 307 (attempt to murder) and Section 393 (attempt to robbery) of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against unidentified persons by the Government Railway Police.

"A high-level inquiry by a four-member team has been ordered to probe the incident which will submit its report within a week," Deputy Divisional Railway Manager (Moradabad) A K Singhal said after meeting Arunima at the hospital.

The committee would include commandant of the Railway Protection Force, the divisional safety officer, the divisional operating manager and an engineer.

In New Delhi, Railway Board Chairman Vivek Sahai told a press conference that all possible medical assistance will be provided to Arunima. The Railways is also talking to some NGOs to get a prosthetic leg for her.

The compensation will be given to her by the Railway Claims Tribunal. Sahai said the tribunal will decide the final amount of the compensation, but didn't give any assurances that Sonu will be given a job by Railways.

National Commission of Women Chairperson Yasmeen Abrar said the panel has a sought a report from the UP government on the matter.

"The law and order situation should be strengthened and safety and security of women should be ensured. We need more railway police personnel deployed in trains to prevent such incidents," she told PTI.

Giving some compensation is not enough, Abrar said, adding there should be a "comprehensive plan" for ensuring a better future for her.

Reacting to the incident, senior Communist Party of India - Marxist leader Brinda Karat asked the government why thousands of vacancies in the railway police force were not being filled up to strengthen security on trains.

Karat said security in moving trains is the responsibility of the Railway Police Force but nothing has been done to strengthen the security despite a number of such incidents in the past.

"When we raised the issue in Parliament, we were told that there were nearly 11,000 vacancies in the RPF, so obviously either they don't have enough people or there is just callousness towards the security of passengers," she said.

Taking a dig at Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is often accused of not giving enough time to her ministry, Karat said, "It seems the railway minister is busy with other activities and is really not that concerned".

Karat said she was deeply saddened by what happened to the young woman, who in an act of bravery was trying to stop a robbery, a job which actually the railway police should have been doing.

"It is their utter failure," said the CPI-M leader.

"I am also angered by the fact that on our trains, in our cities we just do not have the kind of security environment that is essential. Such cases have happened earlier also and we had been assured in Parliament that security in trains has been absolutely strengthened but obviously that is not the case," she said.

 "Even in Kerala a young woman was pushed off a train and she died," Karat added.

Meanwhile, terming the incident as tragic, opposition parties including the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Samajwadi Party said it exposed the tall claims of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party about the law and order situation in the state.

These parties have demanded a thorough inquiry into the matter and immediate arrest of all the accused.

Railways authorities have ordered an inquiry into the incident, terming it as "most unfortunate".

"The incident is most unfortunate and Railways will provide all assistance to the victim, including meeting all her expenses," said Railway Board spokesperson Anil Saxena.

He said the Moradabad division of Northern Railway will conduct an inquiry into the incident. "The inquiry would be conducted by senior officials of the division," he said.

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