Train accident in Amritsar: The incident took place when a large number of people were watching the Ravan effigy going up in flames while standing along the railway tracks when the train mowed them down.
At least 61 people were killed and 72 injured on Friday when a speeding train ran over a crowd of Dussehra revelers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching the burning of Ravana effigy. The tragedy took place at the Joda Fatak area where a large crowd had gathered to watch the fireworks.
Seven of the 70-odd people injured in the train accident are in critical conditions, officials said on Saturday. The injured were admitted to different hospitals in Amritsar. Punjabi Police officials said that the DMU (diesel multiple unit) driver was detained and was being questioned regarding the incident. Sources said that the driver claimed that he was given a green signal and had no idea that hundreds of people were standing on the tracks. No action has, so far, been initiated against the organizers.
The railway board has said that the gathering of people on the rail tracks was trespassing and that railways wouldn’t hold any investigation into the incident. “It would be wrong to say that railways is responsible for this accident. There are two manned level-crossing on that track, both were close. It is the main line.
There is no speed restriction. The railway administration was not informed about Dussehra celebration. People were watching Dussehra celebrations from railway tracks, they need to be more alert,” railway board chairman Ashwani Lohani said.
Due to the train accident on Amritsar-Manawala section, 10 Mail Express trains and 27 passenger trains have been canceled 16 trains have been diverted. 10 Mail Express trains and two passenger trains have been short terminated and 6 Mail Express trains short originated. Punjab Police commandos and Rapid Action Force personnel have been deployed at the site of the train accident to manage the huge crowd. A heavy police deployment has been made to keep the situation in order.
Punjabi Minister who visited the Civil Hospital on Saturday morning, said, “It is a sad and an unfortunate incident. It is necessary to understand that it was an accident. There has been negligence but it was never intentional or motivated.”, CM Amarinder Singh who has postponed his Israel trip will reach Amritsar today to assess the situation and meet the families of the victims, officials said. The CM said that the government will give Rs 5 lakh to the kin of each deceased and free treatment to the injured in all the government and private hospitals.
The CM has ordered all the necessary administrative and police personnel to be mobilised on war footing to help the district administration tackle the tragic situation. Earlier today, Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore also visited the hospital and said that inquiry will be conducted and those who need to be punished will be punished and accountability will be fixed.
Prime minister on Friday condoled the loss of lives in the train accident and directed officials to provide immediate assistance. All offices, educational institutions will remain shut on Saturday as Punjab has declared one-day mourning in view of the tragedy.