Even the certainty of a painful death did not deter him from doing his best to save his pet's life. Nineteen-year-old Ankit died trying to save his dog from being crushed under the wheels of a train in Sadh Nagar near Palam, southwest Delhi, on Tuesday morning.
The incident took place around 6.30 am. Ankit, who had just returned from his night shift at a call centre, took his pet black Labrador out for a walk near the railway tracks. While they were walking, the dog suddenly got distracted by a rodent and followed it to the tracks.
Seeing a train approaching them, Ankit tried to pull the dog by its leash away from the tracks. He then got on the tracks himself to lift the dog bodily out of them. But the dog was too heavy and by then the train was too close, so Ankit switched to pulling at the leash. He was still engaged in his effort when the train hit both of them, crushing the dog and dragging him along for some distance as he did not let go.
Ankit received grievous head injuries and multiple fractures. He was taken to a nearby hospital where doctors declared him dead on arrival.
"Our boy has passed away. What's the use of reporting the incident now? Railways have put no overbridge or boundary wall to stop people from crossing the tracks. We have lost both our son and the pet, the loss cannot be compensated," said Ran Singh, Ankit's father. Singh works for a private company.
Ankit is survived by his parents and two younger siblings including a sister. Family members and locals say such tragedies have almost become a daily affair.
"It's a cursed stretch. This 500m length of track has seen more than five to six fatal accidents in the past one month. A few days ago, a boy who was walking on them with earphones plugged in got crushed by a train," said Sriram Singh, a local who owns a shop near the spot.
Last week, two women were run over. Cattle and other animals are frequent casualties. The area is densely populated and needs a subway or an overbridge," Singh added.
Police got a call around 6:35 am about a young man and a dog run over by a train. "The boy's face got crushed while the dog was mowed down by the train. The boy was dragged some metres away from the spot of impact. We had a word with the family and have ruled out foul play. It is an accident. The body was sent for post mortem," said a senior police officer.