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A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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ISKCON Temple, Just Steps Away from Odisha Train Accident, Provides Needed Aid to Injured and Emergency Workers
By Atma Tattva Das, ISKCON News Staff Writer   |  Jun 07, 2023
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In the wake of the devastating train crash in Balasore, Odisha, the ISKCON Bahanaga temple has emerged as a crucial support center for the affected victims and dedicated volunteers. The temple, under construction, is just steps away from the accident scene.

Masons working at the temple witnessed the horrific collision between the Coromandel Express and a freight train stopped on the tracks. A third passenger train also became tangled in the wreckage, adding to the casualties and injuries. The accident, one of the worst in India’s history, took the lives of 280 passengers and injured over 1,100.

Workers shared water bottles with the injured and used their mobile phone lights to locate bodies amidst the wreckage.  In the aftermath of the accident, the ISKCON Bahanaga temple quickly transformed into a hub for rest, recuperation, and sustenance for victims, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel, railway officials, and other volunteers. Recognizing the dangers of dehydration and sunstroke at the accident site, the temple initiated a dedicated service to ensure continuous support. Since the accident on June 2, the temple has served meals to hundreds of people daily.

Chaitan Chandra Das, the president of ISKCON Gadei Giri and the coordinator of relief efforts at the accident site, expressed gratitude to the temple’s dedicated team and volunteers.

Some on social media attempted to spread misinformation by falsely labeling the nearby ISKCON temple as a mosque and claiming the accident was a terrorist act centered at the building. The district magistrate of Balasore, Dattatray Shinde, and ISKCON Temple officials appealed to the public to refrain from repeating that false claim, spreading rumors regarding the religious affiliations of railway personnel, or misrepresenting casualty figures. Approximately fifty railway personnel are currently under investigation and will not resume their duties until the official inquiry is concluded.

As the investigation into the cause of the tragic train crash continues, the indomitable spirit and humanitarian efforts displayed by ISKCON Bahanaga and its volunteers serve as a reminder of the power of unity and compassion in times of adversity.

 

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