Wrong to blame Railways for Amritsar tragedy, people should not trespass on tracks, says chairman Ashwani Lohani

The Amritsar train tragedy absorbed the life of more than 60 people yesterday as the Jalandhar-Amritsar DMU ran over people gathered to watch Ravan Dahan near the Jora Phatak area in Amritsar last evening.

As the mishap leaves families of the deceased mourning, a series of accusations and counter-accusations have emerged. While the chief guest to the event and wife of Congress leader, Navjot Singh Sindhu, former lawmaker Navjot Kaur Sidhu blamed railway authorities for not issuing directions regarding movement of trains near the tracks, the Indian Railways have countered the allegations and insisted that it will not be giving any compensation to victims of the Amritsar mishap as they are not including it in the list of train accidents.

Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha, stating that people should restrain from organising such events near railway tracks has already said that there was no need for Railways to hold an enquiry into the mishap.

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After the news of the mishap spread yesterday, several prominent media names had blamed it on the railways and even held the railway minister accountable. But as the details of the case emerged, it was later cleared that the organisers of the event, the family of a  local Congress councillor, had not sought the necessary permissions from the municipal body, neither had they informed the railways about it.

Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani had said in a statement that the Railways was not intimated about a Dussehra event along the tracks. He said that the accident occurred at a stretch between two stations, Amritsar and Manawala, and not at a level crossing. He added that if the driver had applied emergency breaks, there could have been a bigger tragedy.

However, Punjab police have registered an FIR against unknown persons under section 304, 304A, 337 and 338 of the IPC at the GRP Police Station on Saturday.

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered an enquiry into the tragic Amritsar train accident and declared one-day mourning in the state.


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