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

Amritsar train accident LIVE updates: Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has announced Rs 5 lakh ex gratia to the kin of those who were killed in the accident.

FP Staff October 20, 2018 14:31:42 IST
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Amritsar train accident updates: Captain Amarinder Singh orders magisterial probe, seeks report in 4 weeks

Highlights

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.

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."

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.

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.

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Oct 20, 2018 - 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. 

Oct 20, 2018 - 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.

Oct 20, 2018 - 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.

Oct 20, 2018 - 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. 

Oct 20, 2018 - 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."

Oct 20, 2018 - 13:24 (IST)

Captain Amarinder Singh reaches site of accident 

Oct 20, 2018 - 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.  

Oct 20, 2018 - 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. 

Oct 20, 2018 - 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.

Oct 20, 2018 - 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. 

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.

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

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

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