Forty Years Ago, February 12, 1981: Tamil Nadu Rail Mishap

Nineteen persons died and 50 were injured in a major accident involving three trains — the Madras-bound Trivandrum Mail, the Erode-bound Yeracud Express and breakaway wagons from a goods train — near Vaniyambadi 199 km from Madras. A Southern Railways press release said 14 bodies had been identified. The accident occurred when the couplings of the goods train snapped and some empty oil tanker wagons broke loose. The Trivandrum Mail bumped into the rear wagons and some of its bogies derailed and fell on the second line. The Yeracud Express coming from Madras rammed into the fallen bogies of the Trivandrum Mail. Five of the 17 bogies were smashed out of shape as a result of this collision. Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Kalyanasudram and V P Manickam the secretary of the party’s Tamil Nadu unit who were travelling by the Yeracud Express escaped unhurt.

Waldheim’s Mission

United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim began his quest for a political settlement of the Afghanistan question by having separate meetings with the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Afghanistan in New Delhi. After meetings with Agha Shahi of Pakistan and Shah Mohammed Dost of Afghanistan, the Secretary General announced that Javier Perez De Cueller, one of the United Nations officials accompanying him, will represent the global body in the talks to follow. Shahi has indicated Pakistan’s willingness for more talks but seems to be against such negotiations being held on Indian soil.

India Beat Aussies

There was not the faintest gesture of defiance from Australia as India, with Kapil Dev at the head of the charge, stormed to a remarkable victory over Australia by 59 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Most commentators did not give India a chance when it set Australia a mere 143 run target. They were bundled out for 83, their lowest score against India.

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