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Amritsar tragedy: 40 of 59 dead identified by kin, Mayawati seeks probe

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Railway Safety said the Amritsar tragedy won't be probed as it was not a railway accident but a case of trespassing on rail tracks

Press Trust of India  |  Amritsar 

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Local people gather at the scene of the accident along train tracks in Amritsar. (Photo:PTI)

Many panic-stricken family members of those killed or wounded in the Amritsar searched frantically from one hospital to another to know about the fate of their loved ones as the festive spirit drowned in sorrow and shock following the tragic incident.

Forty of the 59 people killed in the have been identified so far and the bodies of 36 of were cremated, officials said Saturday.

At least 59 people were killed and 72 injured Friday evening after a crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching burning of Ravana effigy was run over by a train near here, officials said.

BSP chief Mayawati Saturday demanded that a through investigation be conducted into the Amritsar and those found guilty of negligence be punished.

"My son, Jugu, is missing since the train accident. I went to Civil Hospital and Guru Govind Hospital, but I am unable to find him," Sushila, who lives in a nearby area, told PTI.

Lakhmeet, another person who was looking for his brother-in-law and found him in a hospital, said: "I was shocked when I heard about the train accident. I got a call from home that my brother-in-law Sujeet, who went out to watch Dussehra celebrations last evening, had not come back home.

"All family members rushed to Guru Govind Hospital, where I was told Sujeet is admitted at Civil Hospital," he said.

Several other distraught family members of those injured or killed in the accident also had to search from one hospital to another to locate their loved ones.

The train was coming from Jalandhar when the accident occurred at Joda Phatak near Amritsar, where at least 300 people were watching 'Ravana dahan' at a ground adjacent to the tracks.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Saturday ordered a magisterial inquiry into the accident after visiting the injured and the kin of those killed in the tragedy.

Most people who were mowed down by the speeding train were migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

A senior official in the district administration said most migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar work in an industrial area at a stone's throw away from the accident site and live nearby.

The bodies of four other persons, who belonged to Uttar Pradesh, have been sent to their home towns by the district administration, an official said.

According to officials, the post-mortem examination on 29 bodies has been done.

No probe, says top railways official

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) said the Amritsar tragedy won't be probed as it was not a railway accident but a case of trespassing on rail tracks.

The Commission of Railway Safety works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and conducts mandatory inquiry into all railway accidents - at unmanned level crossings, derailments or after a bridge collapse.

"The Commission conducts statutory investigation into railway accidents. This was an incident where people were trespassing on the tracks and not an accident," Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani said.

First Published: Sat, October 20 2018. 18:45 IST