Four Indian students jump in front of train over poor job prospects

November 22, 2018
A boy walks on the tracks at a railway station in New Delhi February 18, 2014. —Reuters/File
A boy walks on the tracks at a railway station in New Delhi February 18, 2014. —Reuters/File

Four friends in northern India anxious over their job prospects jumped in front of a train on Thursday in an apparent suicide pact, police said.

Three died at the scene in Rajasthan while a fourth succumbed to his injuries in hospital, state police told AFP.

Eyewitnesses said the students, aged between 17 and 24, were anxious about jobs and upcoming exams before they hurled themselves in front on the moving carriages in Alwar.

“The probe will reveal the actual reason of the suicide. An eyewitness has said that the boys were worried about jobs,” a Rajasthan police official told AFP.

Voters go to the polls next month in Rajasthan, a desert state of nearly 70 million where joblessness is a burning issue.

In September, more than 23,000 jobseekers in Rajasthan applied for just five entry-level government jobs requiring menial office work.

Explore: For India’s railway children, a dangerous life by the tracks

India boasts Asia’s third-largest economy but concerns about job growth, especially for its huge youth population, have been on the rise ahead of next year’s general election.

Suicide is also a major problem in the South Asian nation of 1.25 billion, especially among students.

India has some of the highest suicide rates in the world and in 2015 nearly 9,000 students took their own lives, official figures show.

Baby survives being run over

Meanwhile, an Indian baby who was dropped onto railway tracks moments before a train passed through the station has escaped unscathed.

The dramatic incident, captured on cell phone footage on Thursday, showed a train rolling over the infant in Uttar Pradesh state as screaming onlookers stand by hopelessly.

The one-year-old reportedly fell into the gap between the carriage and the platform as the girl’s parents were stepping off the train.

She was wedged flat on her back alongside the track as the train left the platform, picking up speed and thundering overhead — but just missing her.

Once the train passed a man quickly scooped up the tiny child who, apart from crying, was astonishingly left unscathed by the terrifying incident.

Also read: Modernising the Indian railways

Indian media reported that the girl’s parents lost grip of their child as a crowd surged from the train onto the platform in Mathura city.

Indian railway officials said the lucky escape was a reminder to be cautious at all times on crowded trains.

“We are actively running campaigns to sensitise people against travelling on rooftops or standing on foot boards of the train doors,” said G K Bansal, a railways spokesman.

India’s huge railway network is notorious for overcrowding and accidents, including scores who die while crossing the tracks illegally or falling off over-capacity trains.

A 2012 government report described the loss of 15,000 passengers to rail accidents every year in India as a “massacre”.

The government has pledged $137 billion over five years to modernise the crumbling network.

dawn@southasiajournal.net'
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