A train ran over a group of Hindu pilgrims at a crowded station in eastern India today, killing at least 37 people. A mob infuriated by the deaths beat the driver severely and set fire to coaches, officials say. Dinesh Chandra Yadav, a local member of parliament, says the pilgrims were crossing the tracks of the packed, chaotic station in the small town of Dhamara Ghat, in Bihar state, when they were struck by the Rajya Rani Express train. Several other people were injured. Railway official Arunendra Kumar says the train was not supposed to halt at the station and had been given clearance to pass through, but some pilgrims waited on the tracks thinking they could stop the train, he says.
The train stopped a few hundred yards beyond the spot where it hit the pilgrims. Angry mobs then pulled out the train driver and beat him—Yadav says the driver was killed, but Kumar says he's in hospital in critical condition. The mob then got all the passengers out of the train and set some coaches on fire. Groups of young men also smashed the windows of two other trains that were in the station. A crowd of around 5,000 people gathered near the station and were chasing away the district officials who tried to remove the bodies from the tracks. The crowds blocked the railway tracks and the few policemen posted at the station had fled, state officials say.