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Had no info about function from Amritsar police: GRP

Say it was local police that gave NOC for the event; an MC fire tender was at the spot even as civic body denies giving permission for function.

punjab Updated: Oct 22, 2018 10:44 IST
Anil Sharma
Anil Sharma
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Government Railway Police,GRP,Dussehra tragedy
The family members of a train accident victim at the Shiv Puri cremation ground near Durgiana Temple in Amritsar on Sunday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)

With fingers being raised at the railway and the civil administration for the Dussehra tragedy in which a speeding train killed 61 persons and injured 143 on Friday, the Government Railway Police (GRP) squarely blamed the Amritsar police for not sharing any information about the function since they had given no-objection certificate (NOC) for organising the event.

GRP additional inspector general (AIG) Daljit Singh Rana said, “We had no information about the event either from the Amritsar police or the Dussehra committee.”

A Railway Protection Force (RPF) officer concurred with Rana, saying, “If we had any verbal or written information about the event, we would have formed a human chain on the Amritsar-Jalandhar railway route at Dhobi Ghat and the lives of 61 people could have been saved.”

Amritsar police commissioner SS Srivastva said, “Where was the railway patrolling team when the incident took place?”

Asked about the railway patrolling on the tracks, AIG Rana said, “Our patrolling starts after 8pm.”

2 SHOs, 100 cops were present at spot

Nearly 100 policemen, including Mohkampura and A-division station house officers (SHOs) Sukhinder Singh and Jaspal Singh, were on Dussehra duty at Dhobi Ghat when the incident took place.

Even as municipal commissioner Sonali Giri had denied having given permission to hold the function, a fire tender of the civic body was deployed there.

GRP has registered a case under Sections 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 304-A (causing death by negligence), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against unidentified persons.

When asked who is responsible for the negligence, Balbir Singh, SHO, GRP Amritsar, said, “The accused are still unidentified. The probe is on and I can comment once it gets complete.”

The function was organised by Congress councillor Vijay Madan’s son Saurab aka Mithu Madan.

The MC has not even initiated any action against the Dussehra committee which held the function ‘without its permission’. MC commissioner Sonali Giri didn’t respond despite repeated calls and messages.

No action against cops who gave nod for function

As why no action has been taken against the police officials who granted nod to the Dussehra committee to hold the function even as the ground was ‘unsafe’, police commissioner Srivastva said, “The event is organised there traditionally and the permission was given with some conditions. Action will be taken after the completion of the magisterial probe.”

As per information, the Dusshera committee had written two letters to Amritsar police commissionerate — one for NOC and another for security. The chief guest of the function was Navjot Kaur Sidhu, wife of state cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, and heavy police force was deployed at the event.

First Published: Oct 22, 2018 10:43 IST