South Asian Insider
Two trains mow down over 60 of Dussehra crowd in Amritsar
(News Agencies) Over 60 people were killed and several injured Friday evening as two trains speeding in opposite directions mowed down people standing on the tracks near a railway crossing watching a Ravan effigy being burnt at a Dussehra celebration here. There were at least 300 spectators at the Dhobi Ghat ground barely 2 km from the Amritsar station. Many of them stood on the tracks close to the Jaura Phatak crossing to get a better view and were taking videos of the burning Ravan as the first of the trains ran them over. The gates at the crossing were closed at the time. It was only after the train had flashed past did the stunned survivors realise what had happened. Most of the casualties appeared to be of those killed by the first train, 74643 Jalandhar-Amritsar DMU, said a senior Railway official. The second train, the 13006 Amritsar-Howrah Express, sped past seconds later and some of those who had jumped on the second set of tracks to escape the first were caught under it, he said.
At 6.50 pm, it was already dark when the incident took place. Bodies were strewn on the tracks and until late tonight, people, many of them crying and screaming, were looking for their missing relatives and friends. There was anger too and many were shouting slogans of protest against the Railways, the state government and the police. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who was to leave for Israel Friday evening, cancelled the trip and announced he would fly to Amritsar on Saturday to assess the damage and meet families of the victims. 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.The state government announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the next of kin of those who were killed and has declared Saturday a day of mourning in the state. Offices and educational institutions will remain shut.President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled 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.
The CM also announced that he had ordered an inquiry into how a Dussehra celebration was being held next to a railway crossing. He has asked all his Cabinet members to reach Amritsar on Saturday. Additional police forces were deployed to assist in the relief work and maintain law and order at the site. The Army also pitched in with ambulances.
The incident took place soon after former MLA Amritsar East Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who is also wife of Punjab Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and the present MLA of the area, arrived and the effigy of Ravana was set on fire. Sidhu 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 she had left the place before the incident took place. Amritsar Police Commissioner S S Srivastva said that the injured were taken to the civil hospital and Guru Nanak Dev hospital. Punjab Cabinet Minister S Soni who arrived at the spot soon after the incident had to face angry crowds and was roughed up. The crowd also raised slogans against Navjot Kaur Sidhu and the local administration.
Two stars fight, and the image is stunning
Stars that have companions aren't always friendly to them, as evidenced by a stellar confrontation witnessed by astronomers. They studied the binary ...
Sex workers finally get 'honourable' funerals in Bangladesh
(News Agencies)-Often treated as less than human in life, there has been little dignity in death for the sex workers of one of the world's biggest b...
In tears again, victim's mother pleads for death warrant for 4 convicts
Demanding fresh death warrant, Asha Devi said, "I am here from one and half years, I am here and waiting for them to avail their legal remedies. Howev...
Delhi Police arrests 10 students in Gargi college molestation case
A case was registered against the ten accused under sections 452, 354, 509, 34 of the IPC at Hauz Khas Police Station. (News Agencies)-The Delhi ...
In AAP's victory, a lesson in transformative politics
The extraordinary political process that Delhi has witnessed this past month represents at once the maturing of the electorate within this "ordinary c...
How the AAP won, with some help from the BJP
Despite a patchy track record, the AAP captured the narrative. The Delhi BJP?had nothing to offer voters Delhi's outsized influence on the nationa...
Jammu and Kashmir: Detention is not the answer
Booking the former chief ministers under PSA is counterproductive The decision to book former Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) chief ministers Omar Abdulla...
Politics is shifting to the centre-right. Delhi proves it
Endorsing the religious practices of the majority, a strong nationalist pitch and populist welfarism is the new normal. Delhi is a riddle wrapped ...
Arvind Kejriwal appointed Delhi CM, 6 ministers to take oath
The 6 ministers who will take oath along with Arvind Kejriwal on 16 Feb are Manish Sisodia, Satyender Jain, Gopal Rai, Kailash Gehlot, Imran Hussain a...
Trump administration goes to war with states over Immigration
The Justice Department sues California and New Jersey to overcome enforcement roadblocks. The Trump administration dramatically escalated its war ...
© All rights Reserved. The south Asian, Published Weekly from New york.