What would you do if you see a fast moving train that could derail and lead to several casualties?
What would you do if you see a fast moving train that could derail and lead to several casualties? On June 15, Swapan Debbarma came face to face with the same question while he was walking along the rail line at Dhancherra in northern Tripura under Dhalai district with his daughter Somati Debbarma. He jumped in front of the train, frantically waved his shirt and saved the lives of thousands of people travelling in the train.
Now, Swapan has landed a government job after the state cabinet’s nod to recruit him as a Group-D employee in the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports. Not only this, the state government has granted him relaxation on education qualifications, treating it as a special case as Swapan could study till the third standard only, The Indian Express reported.
“We shall recruit Swapan Debbarma as a Group D employee in the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports. His daughter accompanied him during his courageous feat to stop a speeding train from a certain disaster. Our government will bear all expenses for his daughter’s education,” Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath told the reporters at the state secretariat on Wednesday.
Head of a family of six members, Swapan lives on a hillock and belongs to a poor tribal ‘jhumiya’ or shifting farmer who managed to fill his platter by selling traditional forest products such as firewood, bamboo shoots etc in local market. His house oversees the railway tracks that connects Silchar railway station with Agartala railway station.
What happened that night?
The Dharmanagar-Agartala passenger train had barely left Ambassa railway station when the train driver saw a man standing on railway tracks, frantically waving his shirt. Later, the train driver said, “If we had not spotted the signal and stopped the train, it could have met with a severe accident.” The father-daughter duo who were walking along the tracks saw that heavy rains had kicked-off huge landslides, affecting around a kilometre of the rail track. Swapan immediately took off his shirt and waved it to stop the train. Luckily, the loco pilot noticed the ‘human signal’ and stopped the train just in time, which would have otherwise slipped into the gorge. Standing rock solid, the young girl Somati didn’t leave his father in his heroic attempt.
President’s Medal for Bravery to the ‘God of the woods’
Swapan and his daughter’s efforts have brought them heaps of praise from the Tripura government and the state legislature. They were invited to the state assembly and were made to sit in the VIP gallery to witness the proceedings of the House. They were given a standing ovation by members of both Treasury and Opposition benches. It also passed a resolution unanimously recommended Swapan’s name for President’s Medal for Bravery in June.