Amritsar train tragedy: Police say Dussehra event organisers did not seek all requisite permissions

Amritsar: The Amritsar police on Saturday said though they had given a "no objection" certificate for the Dussehra celebration near Joda Phatak here, the organisers did not take permission from the municipal corporation and the pollution department.

According to the permission document, the organisers were given the go-ahead following their assurance that they would follow the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on usage of loud speakers.

They had also assured that traffic movement would not be disrupted and nobody would carry any weapon at the event, it said.

At least 59 people were killed in the Amritsar train accident. Image courtesy: Arjun Sharma/101Reporters

At least 59 people were killed in the Amritsar train accident. Image courtesy: Arjun Sharma/101Reporters

The organiser, Saurabh Madan, who is also the president of Dussehra Committee (East) and husband of Congress Councillor Vijay Madan, had sought permission for the 19 October event. He had also sought security from the police as Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu were supposed to attend the event.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Amrik Singh Powar said the organisers were asked to also seek permission from the municipal corporation and pollution department as well.

"If any of these permissions is not granted, then the permission for holding a Dussehra event cannot be granted," Powar said.

Earlier on Saturday, the Amritsar Municipal Corporation (AMC) said no permission was granted to hold Dussehra celebrations at 'Dhobi ghat' ground in Amritsar.

"Nobody was given permission for organising the Dussehra event. Moreover, nobody had applied for the permission with the Amritsar Municipal Corporation," AMC commissioner Sonali Giri said in Amritsar.

She said the celebrations were held at the 'Dhobi ghat' ground in Amritsar.

Giri said unlike last year, the event was held on a large scale on Friday evening.

Opposition parties, including the Akali Dal, BJP and AAP have demanded strict action against those who gave permission for holding the event. They have also held the Congress-led Punjab government responsible for allowing the Dussehra celebrations near the railway track.

At least 59 people were killed on Friday evening after a crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching the burning of a Ravana effigy was run over by a train near Joda Phatak in .

At the time of the tragic incident, at least 300 people were watching the 'Ravana dahan' at the ground adjacent to the elevated rail tracks.

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 had said.

Two trains arrived from the opposite direction at the same time, giving little time to people to escape, they said.


Updated Date: Oct 20, 2018 18:21 PM

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