Magisterial inquiry to also look into railways’ role in Amritsar train tragedy

Updated on Oct 22, 2018 10:34 AM IST

Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani had also ruled out any statutory inquiry into the incident, saying it was a case of trespass on rail tracks.

Security on high alert as a train passes by after resumption of railway services since the train accident, in Amritsar.(Sameer Sehgal /HT)
Security on high alert as a train passes by after resumption of railway services since the train accident, in Amritsar.(Sameer Sehgal /HT)
Hindustan Times, Amritsar/Jalandhar | By, Amritsar/jalandhar

Even as the railway authorities have passed the buck to the Amritsar administration and police for Friday’s Dussehra tragedy, which left 61 dead and many injured, by terming it as a case of trespass, the magisterial inquiry ordered by the state government will look into the railway officials’ role, if any.

Chief minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the mishap.

Jalandhar divisional commissioner Baldeo Purushartha, who has been appointed as a special executive magistrate by the state government to probe the rail tragedy, will start his investigation from Monday.

“We will conduct the inquiry from all angles and see what role the stakeholders, including the railways, played?” he said.

Minister of state (MoS) for railways Manoj Sinha, who visited Amritsar on Saturday, had denied any action against the train driver saying the railway officials were not at fault as they had no intimation about the event.

Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani had also ruled out any statutory inquiry into the incident, saying it was a case of trespass on rail tracks.

Purushartha is slated to visit the accident spot and the hospitals to record the statements of the victims and their families to figure out what exactly had happened.

“The inquiry will be done within the deadline set by the state government,” he said.

Congress leader Mandeep Singh Manna, who earlier used to organise Dussehra at the same spot where the accident took place, had said they used to inform the railways about the event.

Eyewitnesses have blamed that the railways for negligence claiming that the gateman at the railway crossing could have communicated about the event so that the loco driver could have slowed down the train.

The magisterial inquiry will look into the role of the civil administration, police and the organisers among others.

The executive magistrate is also likely to question the event organiser Saurabh Madan Mithu, son of local Congress councillor Vijay Madan, who has gone underground after the mishap.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Parampreet Singh Narula is a staff correspondent with the Jalandhar bureau at Hindustan Times. He covers political, rural and agriculture issues in Punjab.

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