Railways To Launch Drive Against Trespassing

The railways was not informed about the Dussehra event, a top official said (File)

Amritsar: 

Facing blistering attacks after a train ploughed through a crowd standing on the tracks during Dussehra festivities in Amritsar, a defensive railways has said it will launch a massive drive against trespassing.

At least 61 people were killed and 72 injured on Friday evening after a train hit people watching a Ravan effigy burn in the Joda Phatak area of the city. While it is not clear how fast the train was travelling at the time of the accident, eyewitnesses said that the driver didn’t slow down.

The railways, however, has maintained that it was not their fault. “The incident was not the railways’ fault. There was no lapse on our part and no action against the driver will be initiated,” Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said on Saturday.

Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani said on Saturday it was an “incident” where people were “trespassing” on the tracks and not an “accident”.

“We will launch a nationwide campaign against trespassing and the dangers thereof. This is all that we can do to avoid such tragedies,” he said.

Mr Lohani also said the railways was not informed about the Dussehra event. He said the accident happened at a stretch between two stations where people are not expected on the tracks.

A case against unknown people has been registered by the Government Railway Police under sections that deal with culpable homicide not amounting to murder and causing death by negligence.

“It is too early to say anything about the accused (or) who was responsible for the mass killing on railway track. But during the course of investigation, many facts and causes are expected to come to light. Investigation will be conducted to find out the causes and lapses that led to the killing of so many people,” said GRP office Amritsar Balvir Singh.

The Punjab government has also ordered a magisterial probe into the accident.

With inputs from PTI

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