2 Dec 2023

39 years of Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the Railway Men refreshed memories, thousands of lives were saved in this way

The trailer of the Netflix series The Railway Men, based on the heroic efforts of railway employees in saving the lives of many people on the night of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, has refreshed memories of the disaster. Controversies are also arising before the 39th anniversary of the gas tragedy. The family of one has now decided to file a lawsuit against Yash Raj Films, the producers of The Railway Men. The series is inspired by the efforts of railway official Late Ghulam Dastagir and his team at the Bhopal Junction railway station on the night of the tragedy.

Ghulam Dastagir had departed the train ahead of time

The Bombay High Court has already refused to stop the release of the web series 'The Railway Men: The Untold Story of Bhopal 1984'. The court said that the details of Bhopal gas tragedy are already in the public domain.

Actually, The Railway Men is based on the tragedy that occurred after the gas leak from the Union Carbide Corporation factory in Bhopal late night on 2 December 1984. The petitioners had demanded a ban on its release but the court's decision on this came a day before the release of the series.

No permission was taken from Dastagir's family for the mini series

The son of the then Deputy Station Superintendent of Bhopal Railway Station, late Ghulam Dastagir, says that no permission was taken nor any consultation was done with his family for this mini series. Shadab Dastagir, the youngest son of late Dastagir, said that the heroic role of his father Ghulam Dastagir has largely remained unsung in the entire incident that took place at Bhopal Railway Station when the gas leaked on the night of 2nd and 3rd December 1984. 

In these 4 decades he did not get official acceptance and appreciation. Now that it has been made into an OTT series, it is no less disturbing that his family was never consulted about the actual events.


At that time the Railways did not consider it a train accident

Bhopal gas tragedy is considered to be the world's worst gas accident but it was not an accident as per the definition of Railways. Therefore, the railway gas victims were deprived not only of government help but also of relief and compensation. Railways believed that they had nothing to do with this accident. Therefore, those who were on duty on the night of December 3, 1984. Their claim for any compensation was not considered prima facie.

Due to this definition of Railways, the morale of the conscientious employees was breaking. It was the result of red tape by top officials who considered the language of the law to be above the objectives behind it, that even after a year had passed since the gas tragedy, the Railways could not take a decision on what compensation would be given to those who suffered such a terrible accident. How to treat the employees on duty.

Thousands of people were traveling in a train, this is how their lives were saved

In fact, at the time of gas leakage on December 3, hundreds of railway workers were on duty at Bhopal railway station. At the same station there were 22 people from the operating staff along with the then Deputy Station Superintendent Ghulam Dastagir. During the gas leakage, the 116-Up Lucknow-Gorakhpur Express carrying thousands of passengers reached the station at 1.35 am. Then this train used to stop in Bhopal for 32 minutes.

But the then Deputy Station Superintendent, Dastagir, took immediate decision and risk and left the train from Bhopal at 1.50 am itself. If this train had not departed early from Bhopal that day, the death toll in the gas tragedy could have increased by several thousand more. Ghulam Dastagir was also honored by the Rotary Club in Mumbai for this wonderful work, but the Railways did not even thank him for this, leave alone rewarding him. Whereas on the same day, two railway personnel posted on duty lost their lives.

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