Published: Mon, October 22, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Nitish Blames Puja Organizers in Amritsar for Train Tragedy

Nitish Blames Puja Organizers in Amritsar for Train Tragedy

Protests staged by residents here against the Punjab government and the railways after 59 people were killed when a train crushed them as they were watching Dusshera celebrations, turned violent on Sunday leaving a few policemen injured following stone-pelting.

Most of the casualties in a train disaster that killed dozens of people in northern India were migrant workers, a former state government official said Saturday.

Railway authorities in Punjab and New Delhi defended themselves saying that they had not been informed about the Dusshera event at that spot and the local police did not prevent the people from coming on the railway tracks. Rapid Action Force and paramilitary forces were also deployed at the spot.

Police have said that numerous victims were dismembered beyond recognition, and it will take several days to identify the dead.

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, who met family members of the victims on Saturday night, had sought Sidhu's dismissal from the Cabinet, describing the incident as a massacre. The Commission of Railway Safety works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and conducts mandatory inquiry into all railway accidents - at unmanned level crossings, derailments or after a bridge collapse.

"This was an incident where people were trespassing on the tracks and not an accident", Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani said.

Officials said the state has made a decision to observe a mourning on Saturday in wake of the incident.

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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.

Punjab's Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he was rushing to Amritsar to supervise relief and rescue operations.

An angry crowd shouts slogans at the site of a deadly train accident on the outskirts of Amritsar, India, on Friday. "All we could hear around us was people screaming and crying", Paramjeet Singh, another onlooker, said.

Amritsar police said they had given a "no-objection" certificate for the event but told the organisers they must take permission from the civic body and the pollution department, which they didn't. As many as 61 people were killed and more than 72 injured majority with grievous wounds in the macabre incident.

"If the organizers had taken necessary precautions, this tragedy wouldn't have happened".

The Chief Minister also directed that ration, clothing, and medicines be provided to the families of the victims expeditiously, as a lot of them came from an economically weak background.

Top police officials have also been asked to stay in Amritsar till they are required to ensure that the situation stabilises.

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