MUMBAI: It could have been anybody’s worst nightmare. Or a scene from a superhero movie. A child falls on a railway track, an express train thunders towards him, the boy’s blind mother hollers for help fearing the worst… and then, in one fell swoop, a saviour appears from nowhere and plucks the kid out of harm’s way.
This heart-rending scene of valour played out at Vangani railway station, about 100km from CSMT, on Saturday evening. It has been captured on CCTV cameras at the station. The Udyan Express was speeding when railway employee Mayur Shelke (30) was alerted by the cries of a woman standing on the platform, screaming helplessly. Shelke, whose job is to check railway signals, noticed that her son, a 6-year-old, had slipped onto the railway track below.
Even as the boy tried unsuccessfully to vault over to get onto the platform, his mother was weeping out aloud, still staring blankly. Shelke figured that the mother was blind. All along, the train kept hurtling down.
Without a second thought, Shelke raced towards the boy, bundled him onto the platform, and then swiftly clambered onto it himself. Within seconds, the Udyan Express had crossed Vangani station, and was on its way towards Bengaluru.
This act of the Central Railway pointsman—a field employee whose job is to check if train signals are functioning right—has won him the gratitude of the visually impaired woman who was hugging her boy and expressing her gratitude to Shelke, said Central Railway’s chief PRO Shivaji Sutar.
The act earned him plaudits from railway minister Piyush Goyal who called up Shelke to praise him for his altruistic act. TOI has learned that Goyal told Shelke that no reward can ever compensate him for his humane act. Goyal tweeted: ‘Very proud of Mayur Shelke, Railwayman… who has done an exceptionally courageous act, risked his own life & saved a child’s life.’
Asian Institute of Transport Development has announced an award of Rs 50,000 for the alertness and courage that Shelke displayed.The boy’s mother Sangeeta Shirsat was, of course, extremely thankful to Shelke. “Can’t thank him enough… He took a huge risk to save my son’s life…”
Shelke, who joined the railways six months ago, played down his act. “I was on duty when I saw the boy. For a second, I hesitated… but then made my mind and rush towards him before the train could get there.”