Shahjahanur/Bareilly: Fifteen youths were killed and several others injured on Tuesday when they fell from the roof of two speeding trains crammed with job aspirants returning from an ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) recruitment camp in Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh.
The incidents triggered violent protests as angry youths torched a train.
Fourteen youths, travelling atop the Himgiri Express, were killed when they were hit by an overbridge near Shahjahanpur while another ITBP job-seeker died when he fell from the Traveni Express in Hardoi district, District Magistrate of Shahjahanpur Ajay Chauhan said.
Agitated over the death of the youths, the job aspirants ran amok at Shahjahanpur station torching two bogies of the Jammu-Tawi Express and manhandling the driver of the Himgiri train.
Chauhan said train driver Mohammad Asif was assaulted by the mob but maintained only one coach was torched.
Uttar Pradesh Special DGP Brij Lal told PTI in Lucknow that the youths were killed when they fell from the Himgiri Express near Roja station, barely four-km from Shahjahanpur railway station.
Over 12 ITBP aspirants were also injured, some of them critically, in the accident, he said.
The death toll was expected to rise as some youths also fell into Khannaut river, reports said.
"The identity of the seven of those killed in Shahjahanpur accident is yet to be ascertained," Chauhan said.
A 25-year-old job-seeker returning home after taking part in the ITBP recruitment drive died after falling from the Triveni Express near Balamau railway station in Hardoi.
He was identified as Satyabhan Singh, police said.
"Two special trains from Roja and Shahjahanpur have been arranged for tranporting the youths to their respective destinations," the DM said.
Some trains were cancelled and diverted in view of the accidents.
Over 1.5 lakh youths from 11 states, vying for ITBP jobs, had reached Bareilly to submit forms for recruitment in the force.
Earlier in the day, thousands of ITBP aspirants went on a rampage in Bareilly torching a number of vehicles after they failed to submit their forms due to alleged mismanagement of the authorities. They set ablaze seven buses, five of them belonging to the state roadways, some two-wheelers and a petrol pump, officials said.
The agitating youths also pelted stones at AIR and Doordarshan offices.
The incidents set off a blame-game between the Centre and Uttar Pradesh authorities. Home Minister P Chidambaram said the ITBP had informed the state police "well in advance" but the state police provided only "minimal forces".
"These were done with the full knowledge and consent of state police. After all we are recruiting boys from that state only," Chidambaram said.
However, Brij Lal said a large number of aspirants were called by the ITBP authorities who they did not coordinate with the local administration.
"This led to chaos," Lal said, adding adequate PAC and police were deployed to restore calm.
In a statement, the ITBP said the force's DIG at Bareilly had duly informed the District Magistrate on January 17 about the recruitment drive.