4 lapses and the train accident
Neither the organisers nor the police administration had barricaded the tracks to stop people from venturing onto them, preliminary investigations have revealed.
Eyewitnesses said the crowd spilled onto the tracks when a Ravana effigy was set ablaze and crackers started exploding. While some of them were filming the burning of the effigy, others were trying to save themselves. The Nakodar Jalandhar DMU No. 74943 suddenly approached and they did not get a chance to save themselves. The train was coming from Hoshiarpur to Amritsar via Jalandhar. The bodies were cut into pieces and lay strewn in an area between 100 metres and 150 metres from the tracks.
NO NOD FROM RAILWAY AUTHORITIES
Railway authorities clarified that the organisers had not taken any permission from them to burn the effigy near the tracks. However, eyewitnesses said the driver despite the presence of the crowd neither sounded a siren nor reduced the speed of the train which was hurtling down at 100 kmph, sources said.
Railway authorities said they had no information about the event and the driver had no time to stop the train as people suddenly entered the tracks. However it was also the responsibility of the railway staff that clears tracks and keeps an eye on obstacles, sources said.
COPS IGNORED ACCIDENT THREAT
Even though the exact number of police officials at the venue during the accident is not known, those present were busy providing security to the chief guest of the event Navjot Kaur Sidhu.
Police officials and organisers ignored the security of the people, sources said.
The event was not organised for the first time. The effigy was being burnt at the same place for quite some time. It was also the responsibility of the local superintendent of the police who deployed police officials to escort the VVIPs, Sidhu, sources said.
"The effigy was burnt and I had just left the site when the tragedy happened. Priority is to get the injured treated. People who are doing politics over it should be ashamed," they added.
Slamming the Sidhus and the local administration, former revenue minister and Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia said that it was a failure of the local administration, the police in particular, which did not barricade the tracks and deploy adequate number of police personnel to stop people from entering the tracks.
THERE WAS NO LIGHTING
There was no lighting around the tracks. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has ordered a probe to fix the responsibility of the officers who were supposed to maintain law and order besides security.
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. One account said two trains arrived from the opposite direction at the same time giving little opportunity to people to escape. Several people were mowed down by one of the trains.
The Northern Railway CPRO said that due to some incident, people started running towards gate No. 27 between Amritsar and Manawala.
Take cognizance of the tragedy, the Punjab government has announced state-wide mourning on Saturday, all educational institutions will remain shut. CM Amarinder Singh, who rushed to the spot to supervise rescue operations, has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the families of the accident victims. more