Amritsar Train Tragedy: Railways get clean chit in CCRS report, negligence of people blamed

The report states that it was 'error in working by the public near the railway lines', it has added that the train was running at a speed well below the permissible limit and braking was not possible at such a short distance.

The Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety (CCRS) report investigating the Amritsar train tragedy in October has concluded that it was the negligence of people which led to the terrible incident. According to reports, the CCRS provisional report has the tragedy had happened due to “error in working by the public near railway line”.

The CCRS has stated in its provisional report on Thursday that it was the negligence of the people that led to the tragedy. Over 60 people were killed and several others were injured when a train had mauled down people gathered to watch the Dussehra celebrations near the Jaura Phatak area at Dhobi ghat grounds in Amritsar on October 19, 2018.

The Commission of Railway Safety works under the ministry of civil aviation and deals with rail travel safety and investigates train accidents. Chief of the CCRS, SK Pathak has reportedly mentioned in the report that the spot of the accident was just 20 meters ahead of an S-curve and hence the train was not visible from a long distance.

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The report also adds that due to the firecrackers going off during Ravan Dahan, there was smoke in the are and it further brought down visibility. It also adds that though the permissible speed limit in the area was 100kmph the train was running at 82kmph and despite the driver of the locomotive applying brakes, the braking distance of the train was found to be 389 meters during trials.

The report also states that 50 policemen were present at the site and though they had tried to move the people from the tracks, the people did not obey. The report also holds that the district administration and the organisers should have given a prior intimation about the event to the railways. It has urged the state police and Government Railway Police (GRP) and RPF to hold regular meetings for better coordination regarding the upcoming events. The report also urges state administration to organize awareness programmes for people living in the vicinity of railway tracks.

It is notable here that soon after the incident was reported, many senior journalists and politicians had rushed to blame the railways for the incident. Well-known journalists like Rajdeep Sardesai, Shekhar Gupta, Rohini Singh, and many others had immediately blamed the railways and even union minister Piyush Goyal for the incident.

Even Congress minister Navjot Sidhu, whose wife Navjot Kaur was present as the chief guest of the event and had reportedly fled from the site after the tragedy, were seen blaming the train driver and railways for the incident.

The railways, from the beginning, had maintained that the incident had happened due to sheer negligence of the people trespassing the railway tracks and neither the driver nor the railways can be held responsible.

Later, leftist propaganda website The Wire had shared a video by journalist Abhisar Sharma where he had claimed that the tragedy had occurred because the train did not have a ‘top light’. When it was pointed out to him that most modern locomotives do not have a ‘top light’ but bus like front-lights below the windscreen, Sharma had again tried to deflect the blame claiming it was a design flaw. After widespread criticism over their half-baked data and gross misinformation in the video, The Wire had later deleted it.

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