Amritsar accident: Protesters removed from track, train services resume after 40 hours

Governance       Public anger mounting over Amritsar train tragedy as authorities play blame game
       	        Chitleen K Sethi         23 October 2018

Governance Public anger mounting over Amritsar train tragedy as authorities play blame game Chitleen K Sethi 23 October 2018

A witness said the train had not even sounded its whistle as it sped past the site, where hundreds were watching the burning of an effigy of the demon king Ravana during the Hindu festival of Dussehra.

The local government has announced a relief of around 6,807 US dollars to family of each deceased and announced free medical treatment to the injured in hospitals. We don't have any confirmation on the numbers who have been impacted by the incident.

The inquiry has been authorised "to conduct a thorough probe into the unfortunate incident and to examine acts of omission and commission by an individual or agency, if any, and accordingly fix responsibility". Earlier, the Centre had announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the families of the victims and Rs 50,000 to the injured. "I have lost my world", Kumar wept outside Guru Nanak Hospital.

The railways has maintained that it was not at fault because it had no intimation about the Dussehra event.

But Amritsar municipal commissioner Sonali Giri said: "Nobody was given permission for organising the event; nobody had applied for permission".

The Jalandhar-Amritsar express was travelling at 55mph when it reached the scene of the tragedy in Amritsar.

"The event was organised by Mithu Madan's family, whose mother is a Congress councillor in the area".

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and minister Navjot Singh Sidhu met the injured people recuperating at hospitals.

Navjot Sidhu said, "This is a very unfortunate accident".

In the death of 59 people in the Amritsar train tragedy on Friday evening, a bigger tragedy has struck many families: their sole breadwinners have died; and in several cases, children are still trying to find their parents.

Even after 37 hours of the accident, movement of trains on the tracks remain suspended. Navjot Singh Sidhu, her husband, rubbished the allegations. The train driver has not been arrested as he was not named in the FIR, he added.

The locals had started protesting Saturday, raising slogans against the state government and demanding action against the train's driver, a day after the accident here. A good portion of the crowd was on a railway track near the grounds.

"Why did the government not ensure proper security?"

"Why did authorities allow the fireworks display so close to the railroad track, '" he asked.

Relatives of the victims of the train accident mourn at a mass funeral in Amritsar.

Most people reportedly could not hear the train hooter due to the exploding crackers.

Grieving relatives and residents, some of whom were still scouring the bloodied fields for belongings of their loved ones, said there was no warning from the train as it rolled down the tracks just as firecrackers exploded in the sky during the annual Dusshera festival.

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