Amritsar train accident: Police commando, photojournalist injured as protesters clash with cops; traffic restored

On Friday evening, a gathering of more than 300 people were on the tracks to watch the burning of a Ravana effigy when the speeding train struck leaving 59 dead and scores injured.

Published: 21st October 2018 04:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st October 2018 04:56 PM   |  A+A-

Amritsar train accident

People gather near the site of a train accident at Joda Phatak in Amritsar. (Photo | PTI)


AMRITSAR: A punjab police commando and a photojournalist were injured Sunday when security personnel removed protesters from a rail track where 59 Dussehra revellers were mowed down by a train, officials said.

The agitated protesters blocking the track were removed and train services resumed this afternoon, 40 hours after the horrific accident, a railway spokesperson said.

On Friday evening, a gathering of more than 300 people were on the tracks to watch the burning of a Ravana effigy when the speeding train struck leaving 59 dead and scores injured.

The first goods train started from Manawala to Amritsar at 1416 hours, Northern Railways spokesperson Deepak Kumar told PTI, adding this is being followed by mail/express trains.

The railways got the clearance from local authorities at 12:30 pm to restore services, the railway spokesperson said.

"Train services resumed on the affected rail track near Joda Phatak," Senior Divisional Security Commissioner (Railways), Firozpur Division, S Sudharkar said.

Earlier in the day, the Punjab Police cleared the track off the protesters who were staging a sit-in. They resorted to stone-pelting and clashed with security personnel after being removed, officials said.

A Punjab police commando and a photojournalist were injured during the clash, they said.

The protestors were raising slogans against the state government and demanding the resignation of Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. The Punjab police have deployed its personnel, including commandoes, to manage the crowd.

The Rapid Action Force was also present in the Joda Patak area, officials said. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh directed the Amritsar administration to prepare detailed socio-economic profiles of victims.

Singh, who met some of the survivors in hospitals Saturday, was particularly moved by tales of two young women who lost their entire family including children and husbands, and in one case her in-laws, an official release said.

Anguished at the plight of such survivors, Singh told Chief Principal Secretary Suresh Kumar that the government needed to do more than just giving Rs 5 lakh ex gratia, especially in cases where victims were poor.

The senior Congress leader announced that a proper system would be worked out to ensure that such survivors were rehabilitated by the state at the earliest.

He also directed that ration, clothing, medicines etc be provided to the families of the victims as most were from the economically weaker sections of the society.

Singh reviewed the relief and rehabilitation work with the Crisis Management Group of ministers headed by state Health Minister Brahm Mohindra, and directed them to take immediate steps for early disbursement of the compensation.

All steps should be taken for the effective rehabilitation of the survivors and families of the victims, he added.

The Crisis Management Group was set up by the state government on Friday, immediately after the disaster struck.


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