Indian diaspora group in the UK raises funds for the Odisha train tragedy victims as PM Sunak, King Charles III and UK politicians extend condolences.

Subhasini Naicker Wednesday 07th June 2023 08:11 EDT

The Indian diaspora in the UK has been deeply affected and triggered by the unfortunate train tragedy in Odisha, India. While PM Sunak and King Charles III who have always stood by India during tough times, have expressed their concern and condolences for the victims and survivors. In an initiative to extend monetary help to the victims, Friends of India Society International (FISI) UK has launched a "Go Fund Me" fundraiser to support the families of victims impacted by one of India’s worst railway disasters in Odisha (Eastern India). It has already generated over £4,700 in donations within hours of being set up. 

The FISI UK appeal reads, "A devastating train accident has occurred in Odisha, India, leaving behind a trail of destruction and despair. Tragically, there are over 280 fatalities and over 900 injuries. Our thoughts and prayers are with families and friends affected by this shocking incident." 

"Undoubtedly, it is traumatic and devastating for both the survivors and the ones who have lost their loved ones. It will take a lot of time and effort for them to heal. In such distressed times, we must come together and lend our support," it further notes. 

"The money generated shall be used to provide essential support and aid to the victims of this tragedy," said the international non-profit organisation. 

Senior British government officials made the appeal as they expressed their sympathy and support for India during this tragic time on social media.

King Charles III sends a message of condolence recalling his connection with Odisha

King Charles III sent a message of condolence to President DroupadiMurmu. "Both my wife and I have been most profoundly shocked and saddened by the news of such a dreadful accident outside Balasore. I would like to express our deepest possible condolences to the families of all those who have so tragically lost their lives," the UK Royal said in a statement.

In the statement that was also posted across the royal social media channels, the 74-year-old monarch spoke of the special place in his heart for India and reflected upon his fond memories of a visit to Odisha 43 years ago. 

“I do hope you know what a special place India and the people of India have in our hearts. I have particularly fond memories of visiting Odisha in 1980 and meeting some of its people on that occasion," it said.

"I pray, therefore, that you may be able to convey our most heartfelt prayers and sympathy to all those who have been affected by this appalling tragedy, together with our special thoughts for the people of Odisha,” the King concluded.

Prime Minister Sunak expresses support for survivors

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed his heartfelt support and admiration for the survivors and those working tirelessly in the rescue operations. "My thoughts and prayers are with @narendramodi and with all affected by the tragic events in Odisha. My deepest condolences to the family and friends of those killed, and my heartfelt support and admiration to the survivors and those working tirelessly to respond," Sunak tweeted. UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly expressed "heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. My thoughts are with the survivors and emergency services."

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said, “Tragic news of the train crash in India. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. My thoughts are with the survivors and emergency services.”

Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon said, “Distressing scenes and reports from #OdishaTrainAccident in #India which has already claimed the lives of close to 300 people and with many injured. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted as well as the emergency teams working on this tragic accident.”

278 killed in worst train crash in 30 years, over 100 unidentified bodies 

The total number of fatalities in the triple train accident in Odisha as of Tuesday reached 278 as three more victims succumbed to their injuries. The Balasore train catastrophe on June 2 resulted in 278 fatalities and 1,100 injuries, according to Indian Railways.

Khurda Road Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Rinkesh Ray said that of the 278 bodies, 177 have been identified while 101 more are yet to be identified, and that the unclaimed bodies have been kept in six different hospitals.

Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the commissioner of railway safety will conduct a second investigation to determine the exact cause of the disaster, whether it was caused by a human error, a malfunctioning signal, or other possible reasons - to avoid similar tragedies.

The Coromandel Express crashed at a speed above 100 Kmph that its engine climbed the goods train and 22 compartments packed with passengers derailed. Three of the derailed coaches careened into parallel tracks and crossed the tail-end of the Sir M Visveswaraya Terminal Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express (12864) crossing the station at the same time.

CBI to probe Odisha train accident 

In a rare move, the Centre announced a CBI investigation into the rail tragedy in Odisha after the railways' preliminary assessment identified "interference" with the "electronic interlocking system" and "points" that enable the safe movement of trains as the "root cause" of the crash.

The railway ministry ruled out any fault of the loco driver of the Coromandel Express or failure of signals. Though the decision to bring in the CBI points to suspicions of criminality, railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and the Railway Board did not mention sabotage.

Terrifying tragedy, those found guilty won’t be spared, says Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the Balasore train catastrophe as a "terrifying tragedy" and vowed to take exemplary action against those found responsible, a remark seen as pointing to a preliminary assessment about human failure being the possible cause of the tragedy.

"Yeh ghatnaatyantgambhirhai, harprakar ki janchkenirdeshdiyegayehain aur jo bhidoshi paya jayega, uskosakht se sakhtsaza ho, uskobakhshanahinjayega (The government considers this an extremely grave incident. Multiple investigations have been ordered and exemplary punishment will be given to whoever is found guilty, he will not be spared)," he said after visiting the accident spot and the Balasore hospital where the injured are being treated.

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