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Amritsar train disaster probe holds Cong councilor’s son, gateman and organizers responsible

Story Highlights

  • Report clears Navjot Kaur Sidhu, wife of Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, 300-page report of magisterial probe into the accident was submitted to the Punjab Home Secretary last month
  • 60 people died watching Dussera celebrations next to railway tracks when train mowed them on October 19

Amritsar, December 7 (IECurrentAffairs): A magisterial probe into the Amritsar train tragedy in which around 60 people died, has held the gateman at a nearby railway crossing and the organisers of the Dussehra event responsible for “various acts of omissions and commissions”, were principally indicted in the magisterial inquiry into the Amritsar train tragedy on October 19

The report held accountable Saurabh Mithu Madan, the son of a Congress councillor, who had organised the event, for the incident

“The organisers were not having any approval/permission required for holding this event of Dussehra celebration, including Ravan Dahan, at Dhobi Ghat and they held the event in an illegal manner, compromising the safety and security of spectators’ life,” the report said.

“It is also evident that the organisers conducted this event without taking adequate precautions/measures to ensure safety and security of the people gathered to watch Dussehra celebration and Ravan Dahan,” the probe report said.

A 300-page report of magisterial probe into the accident was submitted to the Punjab Home Secretary last month, , however, has cleared Navjot Kaur Sidhu, wife of Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was the chief guest at the Dussehra event, saying “she had no role in organising the event”.

The inquiry was conducted by Jalandhar Divisional Commissioner B Purushartha. Spectators were witnessing the burning of a Ravana effigy near Joda Phatak on October 19 when they were mowed down by a passing train.

“While the spectators committed the mistake of watching this event from rail tracks, the organisers held this event without any permission and without undertaking required safety and security measures,” the report observed.

It held police and officers of the municipal corporation for their failure to enforce the law and responsible rail employees for their failure to take safety and security measures

“Gateman of Jaura Phatak (gate no. 27) Amit Singh has not only failed in discharging his statutory duties but also committed a blunder in not taking appropriate safety and security measures which could have easily prevented this accident. He is one of those key railway employees whose blunder has resulted into this accident,” the report said.

The inquiry report also blamed the gateman of another gate (no. 26) for his “failure”.

“It is also evident that gateman of railways level crossing (gate no. 26) Nirmal Singh also failed in discharging his statutory duties by his late reaction in informing the gateman of Jaura Phatak (gate no. 27). He came to know about this gathering on rail tracks at around 5.30 pm, but informed the gateman of Jaura Phatak (gate no. 27) at around 6.40-6.45 pm,” it said.

He did not inform the station master concerned and keep giving green signals to approaching trains, the report said.

Blaming the organisers for failing to inform the Railways, the report said, “The organisers neither informed the Railways nor took any precautions and safety measures to stop people from watching the celebrations from rail tracks.”

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