A day after several job seekers riding on the roof of a train were crushed by a low overhead bridge in Uttar Pradesh, the Centre, the state government, the railways and the paramilitary Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) are blaming one another for the tragic incident.
Four more youths succumbed to their injuries on Wednesday, taking the death toll in the accident to 19.
The accident occurred at Shahjahanpur after nearly 100,000 jobseekers, who had assembled in Bareilly to apply for merely 416 jobs in the ITBP, were returning home.
The ITBP acknowledged that they had failed to assess the possible turnout for the rally. However, they blamed the government for failing to make suitable arrangements despite informing them about the rally.
“The ITBP had informed the district administration about the recruitment rally for grade four posts. A letter was sent to the district magistrate of Bareilly asking him to make necessary arrangements,” said Dilip Trivedi, additional director general, ITBP.
The state government blamed ITBP for not informing them about the magnitude of the rally.
“When the situation got out of control, the ITBP cancelled the recruitment and asked the aspirants to go home. Angry aspirants indulged in violence and arson. We controlled the situation without firing over the unruly mob,” said Brij Lal, special director general of police, (law and order).
When the police charged at the youths, hundreds climbed on top of the Himgiri Express, without realising that 60 km ahead they would fatally encounter the bridge.
Home Minister P Chidambaram said that minimum security was provided despite state police being informed well in advance.
The railway authorities too washed off their hands of the incident saying they were not approached for special arrangements.
“We had contacted ITBP officers when movement of large number of aspirants was observed. But there was no reply from ITBP officials,” said AK Jain, additional director general, railways.