Monday, November 29, 1999

Her dreams just ended at the station

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New Delhi, May 16 -- Thirty-five-year-old Soni Kumari was trampled to death on Sunday afternoon - just like her dream to be the first to bless her niece before her wedding in Bhagalpur, Bihar. Just a few steps behind her husband and two sons, who managed to board the Bhagalpur-bound train that left the station immediately after the stampede, Soni couldn't catch the train. "She was very close to the train when she was trampled to death almost in front of her husband Raju's eyes," said Rashmi (35), the victim's sister-in-law, failing to hold back her tears. She was standing next to Soni's body, shrouded in a white cloth, at Lok Nayak Hospital. Her husband Raju, who saw his wife being trampled upon, couldn't do anything - he was holding on tightly to his two young sons, while the train moved on. He finally managed to get off the train at Alipur, 33 km from Delhi. Soni worked as a maid at the residence of Ashok Pradhan, former minister in the Delhi government, for more than 15 years. Recalling Soni, Pradhan said, "When she started working here, she wasn't even married. Both her sons were born here and I treated them like my family." He said the couple was very happy and excited about going home for the wedding. Brahmdev Kumar, the victim's cousin brother who lives in Kaka Nagar, said, "The entire family was to be present in Bhagalpur for the wedding." The relatives in Delhi got to know about the accident through television news channels. They rushed to the hospital but were to be 'greeted' by Soni's dead body, wrapped in a white cloth.

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