Limbless and headless bodies of more than 250 passengers, who perished in one of the worst train accidents of India, were kept on the school premises.
Bahanaga High School
Students of Bahanaga Bazar High School are scared and in a state of panic to resume their studies after the summer vacation, as the 65-year-old educational institution had turned into a morgue a few days back due to the horrific train accident near Bahanaga Railway Station in Balasore district.
Limbless and headless bodies of more than 250 passengers, who perished in one of the worst train accidents of India, were kept on the school premises. The rescue team and local people pulled out those bodies trapped in the mangled coaches of the ill-fated Coromandel Express and used the school as the transit point. As three classrooms proved insufficient, the administration used the open hall of the school to keep the dead arranged for their identification.
As the dawn broke, the school was thronged by hundreds of wailing families desperately searching for the bodies of their near and dear ones.
The district administration gradually shifted the bodies to other places from the school after nearly two days. However, the little students and the guardians of the school are scared and in a state of panic following the development. Superstition has taken root and they are allegedly having a premonition that something worse is going to happen.
“Our school was full of bodies. We just can’t forget the scary images of those bodies scattered all over our school premises. Almost all the bodies were headless and limbless. Even entrails were visible. Maybe after sanitization and painting of the school building, our minds will calm down a little bit,” said a student of Bahanaga High School.
“Our children are scared after watching those scary scenes. A person was found alive among those bodies and the little children are in a state of panic after witnessing those horrific scenes. Children are refusing to go to school to resume their studies. We are also worried a lot about them,” said a guardian.
Following the completion of the summer vacation, the schools will reopen within a week’s time. Before that, all the bodies have been shifted to Bhubaneswar and the school has been fully sanitized. The District Education Officer (DEO) has held a meeting with the school managing committee and the alumni members to motivate the students and the guardians not to foster any kind of negative thoughts in their minds.
As per the DEO and the headmistress of the school, massive awareness programmes will be carried out among the local people to overcome negative thoughts following the incident.
“The school and local people have provided a tremendous service toward the victims of the horrific accident. They deserve massive praise for their humanity and bravery. These things will be reminded to them. With proper awareness activities in place, I don’t think any student in the area will drop out of the school,” said Balasore DEO Bishnu Charan Sutar.
“Some senior students and NCC cadets had participated in the rescue operation. Only little students are scared. We will conduct some spiritual programmes and follow some rituals to help them overcome their fear. We will tell them about the utility of social service and the bravery of local people,” said Headmistress Pramila Swain.
However, it remains to be seen how much the incident will affect the attendance of the students in the school after summer vacation.