Amritsar train accident updates: Captain Amarinder Singh orders magisterial probe, seeks report in 4 weeks

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Amritsar train accident updates: Captain Amarinder Singh orders magisterial probe, seeks report in 4 weeks
  • 14:29 (IST)

    Loco-pilot detained by Amritsar Police, role of lineman at railway crossing being looked into 

    The role of train driver, railway officials and local authorities, who gave permission for holding of the event close to the railway tracks, is being probed, police officials said. Punjab Police officials said that the DMU (diesel multiple unit) driver had been detained at the Ludhiana railway station and was being questioned regarding the incident that took place on Friday night at the Jora Phatak near Dhobi Ghat within Amritsar city.

    Sources said that 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. Railway officials were also gathering information from the railway linemen posted along the tracks near the Jora Phatak area who failed to inform the DMU driver regarding the presence of over 700 people on the railway tracks. 

  • 14:25 (IST)

    Loco-pilot informed station master at next station about terrible accident  

     The loco pilot of the train had immediately informed the station master at the next station about the incident about the mishap, minutes after the tragedy occured. The Times of India quoted a senior railway official said that the loco pilot's version would also be recorded to ascertain the cause of the accident.

    He said the train movement on the Jalandhar-Amritsar section (including Pathankot) has been suspended following the accident.

  • 14:04 (IST)

    UN chief Guterres, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau condole Amritsar train accident

    UN chief Antonio Guterres has expressed his deepest condolences to the families and friends the 59 e who died in a train accident in Amritsar, terming the incident as "tragic". "My heart goes to all in Amritsar following Friday's tragic accident. Earlier this month, I was honoured to visit the Golden Temple and witnessed the warmth and generosity of the people. My deepest condolences to those who have lost family and loved ones," Guterres said in a tweet.

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also condoled the accident in which 39 of the total 61 people killed have been identified so far.

  • 13:49 (IST)

    Organisers of event say they informed police about huge gathering, VIP presence 

    Following allegations that the local authorities were not informed about the event, the organisers of the Dussehra event have released a letter that was written to the Amritsar Police seeking security arrangements. In the letter, the organising committee informed the police about the presence of VIP guests and a huge gathering. The deputy commissioner of police had marked the copy of the letter to the ASI of the area. 

    However, at the time of the tragedy the policemen were present only near the stage where VIP guests, including Navjot Kaur Sidhu were seated, and not near the rear boundary wall or close to the track for crowd management. 

  • 13:30 (IST)


    Northern Railways says railway track separated by a boundary wall from public ground at the site of mishap

    The Northern Railway issued a statement Saturday, clarifying that the raillway tracks were not immedately accessible from the ground, adding that there was a wall separating the grounds with the track.

    The statement reported by ANI said, "Gate No. C-27 is a manned level crossing gate and it was closed for road traffic for passing the above DMU train. It is further informed that there is about 2.5 meter high brick wall between the railway track and the Ravan Effigy Dahan site."

  • 13:24 (IST)

    Captain Amarinder Singh reaches site of accident 

  • 13:15 (IST)

    Punjab govt announces Rs 5 lakh aide for kin of dead, Rs 50,000 for injured needing prolonged treatment

    Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has announced Rs 5 lakh ex gratia to the kin of those who were killed in the accident. The chief minister also promised free medical treatment for all injured and an additional aide of Rs 50,000 for those who would need prolonged treatment for their injuries.  

  • 13:09 (IST)

    'Wrong to prejudge proceeds of enquiry': Captain Amarinder Singh refuses to answer questions about reasons of mishap

    Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh faced a volley of questions as he briefed reporters. From the lack of proper permission for holding the event, to the railways dismissal of any blame on its part, Amarinder was asked about several glaring issues that pointed towards some sort of mismanagement that eventually caused the accident. However, the chief minister said that it will be wrong to prejudge the findings of the enquiry commission and refused to make a comment on the causes of the tragedy. 

  • 12:59 (IST)

    Amarinder Singh informs 9 bodies yet to be identified, says authorities trying hard to ensure dead can be handed over to kin asap 

    "59 people have been killed and 57 people were injured in the incident. We will try that postmortem of the bodies are done as soon as possible. We have identified most of the bodies except 9," Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said.

  • 12:49 (IST)

    Captain Amarinder Singh orders magisterial probe, seeks report in 4 weeks

    Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has said that the state government has ordered a magisterial probe into the mishap. The chief minister has said that he has sought the report within four weeks. Singh refused to blame either the railways or the administration, and added that he would not like to prejudge the findings of the enquiry commitee. 

  • 12:44 (IST)

    I was at the airport when got news of tragedy, says Amarinder Singh

    Answering a reporter about why is visit took over 15 hours to take a visit to the site, Captain Amarinder Singh said that he was at the airport to take a flight to Israel for an official visit, when he got the news. 

  • 12:33 (IST)

    'Wrong to hold railways responsible, curved track ensured motorman couldn't see mishap site in time,' says railway officials 

    Hours after the Amritsar train accident, Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani on Saturday said it would be wrong to say that the Railways is responsible for the tragic incident, adding that people need to be more alert.

    Speaking to ANI, Mr Lohani said that the Railways administration was not informed about the Dussehra celebrations taking place near the main line. He said that the two manned level-crossing on the track, where the accident took place, was closed.

  • 12:28 (IST)

    Pakistan PM Imran Khan condoles  Amritsar train tragedy

    Amid souring ties between India and Pakistan, the neighbouring country's prime minister Imran Khan expressed his condolence on the massive tragedy. Punjab, that shares a border with Pakistan has deep people-to-people ties with the neighboring country. 

  • 12:23 (IST)

    Angry citizens hold anti-govt protests as CM Amarinder Singh visits city to take stock of situation 

    Video by Gursimran Singh, 101Reporters

  • 12:12 (IST)

    Captain Amarinder Singh interacted with victims, took stock of arrangements at hospital 

  • 12:09 (IST)

    Captain Amarinder Singh drops plan to visit accident site as officials say trip might cause law and order situation 

    Captain Amarinder Singh has reportedly dropped the plan to visit the site of the accident as the security officials advised him against it. Angry people had been gathering at the site of the accident ahead of Singh's visit. 

  • 12:03 (IST)

    Captain Amarinder Singh reaches Amandeep Hospital, takes stock of the situation 

    Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, accompanied by his cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu, reached at a city hospital, where he met the victims. Singh also took stock of the situation in the city. 

  • 11:54 (IST)

    Motorman, guard at crossing couldn't have seen mob at track due to curve, says Manoj Sinha

    Speaking to CNN-News18, MoS Railways, Manoj Sinha said that the Amritsar train accident was the most unfortunate tragedy. Answering a question about whether the liability lies with the railways, Sinha said that the site of the accident was outside the crossing guard's and motorman's range of vision, because the tracks curved just ahead of the railway crossing. 

    He said that the mtormen are briefed in advance about when to slow down the train, what speed to drive at and when to blow the horn. The driver was only doing his duty. 

  • 11:49 (IST)

    Situation tense ahead of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's visit 

    There is visible anger amid people who have gathered in large numbers at the site of accident ahead of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's visit. The chief minister is currently at Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport in Amritsar, where he is being briefed by the officials. He will visit the victims at the local hospital next, and thereafter he will go to visit the site of the accident. 

    Video by Gursimran Singh

  • 11:31 (IST)

    Railway official says Amritsar tragedy not motorman's fault, claims train was running at normal speed 

  • 11:30 (IST)

    Navjot Singh Sidhu refuses to point fingers, wife blames railway authorities 

    Refusing to point fingers, Navjot Singh Sidhu said, "Nobody has done it deliberately. However, there is a big negligence (behind this incident)...when I talk about negligence, some people did not even understand their responsibility".  "Nobody had any intention to do this. There was no motive," he said, adding the incident was an irreparable loss. 

    However, his wife, who was also a chief guest at the event, blamed the railway authorities for not issuing directions regarding movement of trains near the tracks. 

    "We burnt the Ravan effigies at six places today. Most of them were near the railway track. They (railway authorities) should have at least issued directions to slow down the speed of the train. Such a big mistake," Navjot Kaur Sidhu told a media channel from a hospital where the injured were taken.

  • 11:24 (IST)

    Captain Amarinder Singh canceled scheduled visit to Israel in wake of accident; CM reviews situation in Amritsar 

  • 11:22 (IST)

    Captain Amarinder Singh arrives in city; officials brief CM at airport

     Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has arrived in Amritsar. Singh is being being briefed by the Crisis Management Group on relief and rehabilitation measures taken so far in the massive train tragedy that killed at least 59 people. He is scheduled to visit the Guru Teg Bahadur Singh hospital to mmet the victims shortly. 

  • 11:08 (IST)

    Navjot attended to patients while Opposition politicised event, culture minister defends wife

    Punjab minister and local MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu said the mowing down of 61 Dussehra revellers by a train here was an accident and that nobody had done it intentionally. 

     
    He, however, said there was a "big negligence" and asked his detractors not to do politics over the incident.  "It was an unfortunate incident. I talked to few people who told me that some people were standing on the rail track and some were sitting on a stone near the track," the minister told reporters. PTI

  • 11:03 (IST)

    Local municipal officials say Dussehra event was organised without due permissions 

    Municipal Corporation Commissioner Sonali Giri said the Dasehra event was held illegally as no permission had been granted for the same at Dhobi Ghat near the railway track. “It is very surprising that Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu presided over this function without verifying this fact,” she told The Tribune

  • 10:52 (IST)

    Recap: Indian Railways sets up helpline for Amritsar train tragedy victims, kin

  • 10:47 (IST)

    Golden Temple opens community kitchens to help survivors, kin

    Community kitchens have been set up at Guru Nanak Dev hospital and Civil Hospital Amritsar by the Golden Temple authorities. The gurudrwara committee is offering food and water to the kin of injured at these hospitals free of cost.

    Input by Arjun Sharma

  • 10:44 (IST)

    Responsibility lies squarely with Navjot Singh Sidhu, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, says SAD's Bikramsingh Majithia 

    Bikram Singh Majithia of the Shiromani Akali Dal said that the blame for the tragedy lay squarely with Navjot Singh Sidhu and his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu. The SAD leader said that the locals told him that the event took place every year around the same area and the locals had never seen a tragedy befall, especially of this magnitude. He said that the area falls in the constituency of Navjot Singh Sidhu, who also happens to be the urban local bodies minister, had the responsibility to ensure that adequate crowd management was in place and proper permits were sought from the due authorities. 

    He also blamed Sidhu's wife, who was a chief guest of the event, for inadvertently causing the tragedy. Majithia said that because she came late for the incident, the time was stretched on. He also alleged that Navjot Kaur left the accident site as soon as the incident took place. 

  • 10:26 (IST)

    Crowds gather at site of accident ahead of CM's visit

    More and more people in Amritsar are flocking to the site of the tragic train accident, where at least 59 people were killed. Meanwhile, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh is on his way from New Delhi to visit those injured in the incident.

    Input from Gursimran Singh, 101Reporters

  • 10:18 (IST)

    Heavy police deployment at accident site
     
     
    Punjab Police commandos and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel have been deployed at the site of a train accident, which claimed 61 lives, to manage the huge crowd that has gathered, PTI reported.

  • 10:08 (IST)

    Death toll rises to 59: civil surgeon


    Dr Hardeep S Ghai, the civil surgeon at the civil hospital and nodal officer, told The Indian Express that there are 59 casualties till now.

    While 39 bodies have been kept at the Amritsar Civil Hospital, the remaining 20 have been kept at Guru Nanak Hospital, which chief minister Amarinder Singh is scheduled to visit.

  • 10:07 (IST)

    Train driver detained, questioned about incident

    Punjab Police officials told The Times of India that the DMU (diesel multiple unit) driver had been detained at Ludhiana railway station, and was being questioned regarding the accident at the Jora Phatak near Dhobi Ghat within Amritsar.

    The newspaper quoted sources as saying that the driver claimed that he was given a green signal and all clear, and had no idea that hundreds of people were standing on the tracks when the train crossed the area.

    No action has so far been initiated against the organisers of the Dusshera event. Police sources said that the organisers, who are leaders of the ruling Congress in Punjab, had gone underground.

  • 10:01 (IST)

    Come here and give Rs 5 lakh on the spot, say locals

    Locals in Amritsar expressed outrage over the train accident, saying that Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh should personally deliver the Rs 5 lakh compensation that he promised to the victims and injured people's families.

    Input from Gursimran Singh, 101Reporters

  • 09:53 (IST)

    Amarinder Singh departs from Delhi towards Amritsar

    Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has begun his trip for Amritsar from New Delhi. He is scheduled to visit the Guru Nanak Dev hospital in Amritsar where many injured have been admitted.

    Input from Arjun Sharma, 101Reporters

  • 09:42 (IST)

    Actor who played Ravan in a Ramleela in Amritsar killed in accident

  • 09:38 (IST)

    58 patients admitted at Civil Hospital Amritsar

    58 patients are still admitted at the Civil Hospital Amritsar. 24 bodies at the civil hospital have been identified, while 18 are yet to be identified at the civil hospital.

    Input from Arjun Sharma, 101Reporters

  • 09:27 (IST)

    Event delayed because of Navjot Kaur: Eyewitness

    An eyewitness told CNN-News18 that the Raven Dehan was delayed by an hour because of Navjot Kaur Sidhu. It was scheduled for 6 pm but only started around 7, which happened to coincide with the train timings.

  • 09:21 (IST)

    Railway official outlines details of incident

    A Northern Railways official told NDTV that the Ravan effigy was being burned less than 100 metres from the railway tracks. "Ravan effigy was being burned 70-80 metres from the gate. When the effigy fell, people present there ran towards the railway track, at the time a train was passing and level crossing there was shut," the official said.

  • 09:07 (IST)

    Oppn attacks state govt, targets Navjot Kaur Sidhu
     
    Akali Dal leader Bikram Majithia said: "The authorities concerned must be held accountable for the ill-fated accident & strict action must be taken against the guilty police officers and organisers." 

    He demanded registration of a case against Sidhu. "I demand immediate registration of case against people present on the stage including Mrs Sidhu and arrest of those who gave permission for holding function near rail track."


    Majithia targeted Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh: "Heads need to roll right from the top," Majithia said.


    Union Minister Vijay Sampla also lashed out at Sidhu. "The most condemnable and inhuman behavior is of Navjot Kaur Sidhu who was present at the Dusshera festival as chief guest at the time of the accident and instead of providing relief to the victims, she ran away from the incident site,” claimed Sampla.


     Former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal demanded an inquiry by a retired high court judge to fix responsibility and punish the guilty. 


    AAP MLA Harpal Singh Cheema and its MP Bhangwant Maan blamed the district administration for the deaths as it allowed people to burn effigies close to railway tracks. The AAP leaders demanded a judicial probe into the incident and punishment for the guilty. They also demanded a compensation of Rs 1 crore and a government job to one family member of those dead. 

    - PTI

  • 08:57 (IST)

    8 trains cancelled, 5 trains diverted after accident

    As per a report from ANI, eight trains have been cancelled, another five trains diverted, ten trains short-terminated following the tragedy. Additionally, five trains short-originated today.

  • 08:55 (IST)

    RECAP: BJP, Congress leaders express sadness over incident

    From President Ram Nath Kovind to former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, leaders across the Indian political spectrum took to Twitter to express their condolences for victims and survivors.

  • 08:44 (IST)

    Sad and unfortunate incident, says Navjot Singh Sidhu

    Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, while speaking to media at the civil hospital where many survivors are receiving treatment, said: "It was a sad and an unfortunate incident. It is necessary to understand that it was an accident. There has been negligence but it was never intentional or motivated,"

  • 08:41 (IST)

    Gateman could have informed authorities beforehand: Eyewitness

    An eyewitness told CNN-News18: "the nearest checkpost is not too far away. The gateman could very easily have informed authorities of the train's arrival, or could have said anything else about the crowd gathered there in order to stop the train in time. Had he done this, the accident would not have happened."

  • 08:35 (IST)

    Visuals of Navjot Singh Sidhu visiting injured

    Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Saturday visited the civil hospital in Amritsar where the injured have been admitted.

  • 08:31 (IST)

    Railways not launching investigation, says 'it was not accident, it was trespassing."

    Speaking to CNN-News18, Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani said that the Indian Railways will not be launching a probe into the accident, "as it is not an accident as such, this is trespassing on railway tracks.

  • 08:24 (IST)

    'Providing all possible services to patients': Hospital superintendent

    CNN-News18 quoted the Amritsar Hospital superintendent as saying: "Injuries are big and very serious for those who are in the hospital right now. We are providing all possible services and medical facilities to patients here."

  • 08:19 (IST)

    58 confirmed dead, at least 60 injured: Police commissioner

    According to reports, Police Commissioner Amritsar SS Srivastava said that the death toll is at 58, and at least 60 more people have been injured in the train accident.

  • 08:13 (IST)

    Punjab education minister faces public outrage

    Punjab education minister Om Prakash Soni faced intense public outrage when he went to visit the site of the accident.

    CNN-News18 reported that there has been a lot of anger towards the government following the incident, saying that more could have been done to prevent the accident altogether. 

  • 08:04 (IST)

    Navjot Singh Sidhu reaches hospital to visit injured

    Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has reached the hospital to meet the survivors of the accident  CNN-News18 reported.

  • 08:00 (IST)

    Wrong to hold Railways responsible, says Railway Board chairman

    "It would be wrong to say that Railways is responsible for this accident. There are two manned level-crossings on that track, both were closed. It is the main line. There is no speed restriction there. The Railway administration was not informed about the Dussehra celebrations near the mainline. People were watching Dussehra celebrations from railway tracks," Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani was quoted as saying by ANI.

    "People need to be more alert; they must not trespass on railway tracks," he added.

Amritsar train accident LATEST updates: Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has announced Rs 5 lakh ex gratia to the kin of those who were killed in the accident. The chief minister also promised free medical treatment for all injured and an additional aide of Rs 50,000 for those who would need prolonged treatment for their injuries. 

Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has said that the state government has ordered a magisterial probe into the mishap. The chief minister has said that he has sought the report within four weeks. Singh refused to blame either the railways or the administration, and added that he would not like to prejudge the findings of the enquiry committee

MoS Railways, Manoj Sinha said that the Amritsar train accident was the most unfortunate tragedy. Answering a question about whether the liability lies with the railways, Sinha said that the site of the accident was outside the crossing guard's and motorman's range of vision, because the tracks curved just ahead of the railway crossing.

He said that the mtormen are briefed in advance about when to slow down the train, what speed to drive at and when to blow the horn. The driver was only doing his duty.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has arrived in Amaritser. Singh is being being briefed by the Crisis Management Group on relief and rehabilitation measures taken so far in the massive train tragedy that killed at least 59 people. He is scheduled to visit the Guru Teg Bahadur Singh hospital to mmet the victims shortly.

Defending his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who was accused of leaving the accident site without bothering about the victims, the state culture minister said she was attending to patients at the hospital when allegations were being levelled against her.

Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh reaches Amritsar. Arjun Sharma/ 101Reporters

Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh reaches Amritsar. Arjun Sharma/ 101Reporters

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh is scheduled to visit Guru Nanak Dev hospital in Amritsar to meet the injured in the tragic accident.

Speaking to CNN-News18, Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani said that the Indian Railways will not be launching a probe into the accident, "as it is not an accident as such, this is trespassing on railway tracks.

According to reports, Police Commissioner Amritsar SS Srivastava said that the death toll is at 58, and at least 60 more people have been injured in the train accident.

At least 61 people were killed and 72 injured on Friday evening after a crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled on to railway tracks while watching burning of Ravana effigy was run over by a train near Amritsar, officials said.

The train was going from Jalandhar to Amritsar when the incident occurred at Joda Phatak where at least 300 people were watching 'Ravana dahan' at a ground adjacent to the tracks.

Sub Divisional Magistrate Amritsar (I) Rajesh Sharma said 58 people have died and at least 72 injured have been admitted to Amritsar hospital.

However, Raveen Thukral, media adviser to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, put the number of dead at 40, adding the toll could rise.

As the effigy was lit and the fireworks went off, a section of the crowd started retreating towards the tracks where a large number of people were already standing to watch the event, officials said.
However, two trains arrived from the opposite direction at the same time giving little opportunity to people to escape, they said.

Several people were mowed down by one of the trains, they said.

Wails and cries of people filled the air as friends and relatives frantically looked for their near and dear ones. Severed bodies, including of many children, were still lying on the accident site hours after the incident with angry people not allowing authorities to remove them.

It was a heart rending sight as dismembered body parts lay strewn on the blood-soaked ground. Many bodies could not be identified.

People shouted slogans against local MLA Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who was present as chief guest during the event. She later said she rushed to the hospital immediately after the incident.

She said the railways should have ensured that trains slow down near that section of the track during Dussehra celebrations.

"Every year, Dussehra celebrations take place there," she said, adding that she had left the place before the incident took place.

There was shock and disbelief as panic-stricken people recounted the horror.

"I have lost my minor child. I want him back," an inconsolable mother could be heard.

"Several times we have been requesting the authorities and local leaders telling them to take up the issue with railway authorities to slow down the trains near this Phatak during Dussehra, but no one has listened," a local said.

Another said people could not hear the sound of the approaching train due to bursting of fire-crackers.

Amritsar Police Commissioner SS Srivastava said there was a great rush because of the Dussehra celebrations, adding necessary action as per law would be taken.

A state mourning has been announced in Punjab on Saturday.

Amarinder Singh has ordered an inquiry into the incident.

"I am at the moment not aware of the reasons for this Ravana effigy being built next to a railway station. But the administration will look at it and we will check it when I go there tomorrow," he said.

Singh, who was scheduled to leave for Israel this evening, has postponed his trip and will fly to Amritsar Saturday morning.

He announced compensation of Rs five lakh each to the kin of the deceased.

He also directed the Chief Secretary to deploy all the necessary administrative officials to ensure that the injured are immediately shifted to hospitals across Amritsar. All private hospitals have also been asked to stay open, along with government hospitals, to provide urgent free treatment and care to the injured.

Additional police forces, led by the DGP, have been rushed to the spot to control the situation.

The incident sent shock waves across the country. There was an outpouring of grief with President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoling the loss of lives.

Modi announced Rs 2 lakh compensation for the family of the dead and Rs 50,000 for the injured. He also directed officials to provide immediate assistance.

"Extremely saddened by the train accident in Amritsar. The tragedy is heart-wrenching," he tweeted.

"My deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones and I pray that the injured recover quickly. Have asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required," he said.

"Shocked to hear about the tragedy on rail tracks in Amritsar, Punjab. Understand Indian Railways and local authorities are taking steps to help affected people," Kovind said.

Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha, Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani and Northern Railway general manager Vishwesh Chaube are rushing to the spot while Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said immediate relief and rescue operations are being conducted.

With inputs from PTI


Updated Date: Oct 20, 2018 14:31 PM

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