Amid blame game over Amritsar train tragedy, event organisers go missing


Fifty nine people were killed after a crowd, which had gathered to watch the burning of a Ravana effigy, spilled over to the railway tracks and were mowed down by two speeding trains.

Meanwhile, former minister and secretary of SAD, Bikram Singh Majithia said that ruling government should be held accountable for the incident as it did not inform the railways about the event being organised there.

India cricketer Yuvraj Singh expressed his condolences to affected families after a tragic train accident in Amritsar killed several people.

As the venue was aced to capacity, over 300-350 Dussehra revellers had assembled at the elevated railway track outside the boundary wall of the park to have a better view of the burning nearly 80-feet tall effigy of Ravana.

In just 10-15 seconds it left behind a heap of crushed and dismembered bodies. Angry people even threw stones at the Madans house.

State Education Minister and Amritsar legislator O.P. Soni was also present during the Governor's visit.

Witnesses and survivors said the deafening noise of fire crackers masked the sound of the approaching train.

"Railways can not be blamed".

Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani said it was not a "railway accident" but a case of trespassing on rail tracks.

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Earlier, the driver claimed that he was given green signal and all clear and had no idea that hundreds of people were standing on the tracks when the train crossed the area.

"The (railway authorities) should have at least issued directions to slow down the (train). There was no lapse on our part and no action against the driver will be initiated", Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said on Saturday. While 16 trains were diverted and reached their destination through a different route, 18 trains were short terminated, Northern Railways spokesperson Deepak Kumar said to PTI. Each year, after all, there were manned crossings, there were gate keepers. Sub-divisional magistrate Rajesh Sharma, however, said 61 people lost their lives. "Such a big mistake", Ms Kaur said.

The police have not questioned Saurabh Madan, who has now gone underground.

Unfortunately, at that very same time, the Jalandhar-Amritsar DMU was passing through the populated spot.

Emergency brakes could also derail the train at high speed, the official explained.

At least 50 injured people were admitted to hospital.

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh has already ordered a magisterial probe and will receive a report within 4 weeks.

The minister, who is now in the USA, has cancelled all his engagements there and is immediately returning to India.

THe Chief Minister urged all political parties "to rise above petty politicking to join hands to mitigate the sufferings of the victims and their families".