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Suresh Prabhu told him not to 'play games' on Twitter. But this man wasn't

Durga M Sengupta | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 3:12 IST

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, on 25 December, got frustrated with the behaviour of a 'prankster' who had tweeted asking for medical aid for his ailing friend travelling alone. However, when the DRM Bilaspur team reached the train, they found no patient who fit the profile.

Vivek Singhania had tweeted requesting urgent medical attention for Brijesh, who was travelling on "train 12129 B1 58". He claimed that Brijesh suffered from cough, cold and high fever and was travelling solo.

After the DRM Bilaspur team searched the train and left, they tweeted a reaction terming his SOS message a "prank tweet".

To this, Suresh Prabhu responded with a stern message for the public, urging them to not "play games".

Tweeple started censuring Singhania for wasting the team's precious time, and for pulling such an unfunny prank.

Singhania, a day later, replied to both Suresh Prabhu and the DRM Bilaspur handle, asserting that he was no prankster, and that this was a case of serious miscommunication. He went on to provide his mobile number in one of the tweets; a number that we called.

Singhania told Catch that Brijesh Kumar was not a direct friend and that he decided to help him as he too was on his way to the railway station to catch a different train. A friend of Singhania's had asked him to carry medicines for this man whose train (Azad Hind) would stop at Chapa Station a few hours before his Howrah-Mumbai train passed it.

Singhania lives about 60 kms away from the station and couldn't reach Kumar's train on time. So he tweeted the SOS message out.

The team dispatched got the message that Brijesh Kumar was a senior citizen. Hence when Kumar was asked, he said he wasn't critically ill and was clearly no senior citizen. At this point, the team quickly deboarded the train.

Singhania realised what had happened over Twitter a day later when he arrived at Howrah on 26 December. Since then, he has been attempting to clarify his stance.

"Suresh Prabhu is not at fault, it's a misunderstanding," he says. "Twitter is a good way to reach out, but there should be some verification system," he adds.

Singhania's SOS tweet also had Kumar's number. On being asked why he didn't confirm his number, he said that it was unreachable on the train.

Kumar, after narrating the entire incident to us, said, "It's a clear case of miscommunication, but it's also a very positive story."

"I need to thank both parties. In today's date, there's a man trying to help someone he doesn't even know. And then, there's a team responding to an SOS from a stranger. The railways too responded very fast."

First published: 30 December 2015, 6:36 IST
Durga M Sengupta @the_bongrel

Feminist and culturally displaced, Durga tries her best to live up to her overpowering name. She speaks four languages, by default, and has an unhealthy love for cheesy foods. Assistant Editor at Catch, Durga hopes to bring in a focus on gender politics and the role in plays in all our interactions.