Train services partially resume in Amritsar; protesters booked


The railways were not informed about the trackside Dussehra event, nor was permission sought from the civic body, officials said a day after a train mowed down 59 revellers during a Ravan Dahan near Amritsar.

Hundreds of relatives of the victims engaged in sporadic protests on and near the tracks Saturday, calling for action against local authorities and the train operator, who was questioned Saturday by police.

The driver, Arvind Kumar, in a statement to the Railways administration said he had applied the emergency breaks, but since a large group of people started pelting stones on the train, he made a decision to proceed, The Indian Express reported on Sunday.

Punjab Police and Rapid Action Force personnel, along with state police commandos, have been deployed to maintain law and order at the scene. The Rapid Action Force is also present in the Joda Patak area to avoid untoward incident.

A speeding train ran over a crowd watching fireworks during a religious festival in northern India on Friday evening, killing more than 50 people and injuring dozens more, police said.

The process of identifying the other persons is underway, it said.

Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu Sunday refused to react to the SAD's demands for his dismissal and lodging of an FIR against his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu over the Amritsar train incident on Dussehra.

A state of mourning has been declared - offices and schools in Punjab will be closed on Saturday, Reuters reports.

He also advised people not to organise such events near railway tracks in future. We don't have any confirmation on the numbers who have been impacted by the incident.

A Southern Railway official also recalled the accident and told IANS that the Amritsar accident was identical to the one that had happened in Thalaserry.

However, the Times of India report notes that a statutory inquiry by the Commission of Railway Safety-a part of the Ministry of Civil Aviation-will be conducted.

India cricketer Yuvraj Singh expressed his condolences to affected families after a tragic train accident in Amritsar killed several people. "Even the local administration should not allow such functions", Sinha said, adding "The driver could not see the crowd standing on the tracks because of the curve", he added.

Meanwhile, opposition parties in Punjab, including BJP, AAP and SAD have called for stringent against those responsible for the event and dismissal of Sidhu from the state government.

"The organisers generally inform the police and they are asked to abide by the general instructions".

Sukhbir Singh Badal, President of SAD, said "It is an unpardonable negligence". She told ANI, "It is an unfortunate accident".

Family members cry after seeing the body of their relative after a commuter train traveling at high speed ran through a crowd of people on the railway tracks on Friday, outside a hospital in Amritsar, India, October 20, 2018.