Authorities Negligence Apparent In Amritsar Train Accident: Watchdog

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today issued notices to the Railways and the Punjab government over the Amritsar accident in which nearly 60 Dussehra revellers were killed when they were run over by a train while watching the festivities.

Issuing the notices, the Commission observed that it cannot be said to be a “sane act” by people to sit on railway tracks, but at the same time, the “negligence on the part of the district authorities is apparent” behind this “bizarre and horrific incident”.

The NHRC issued notices to the state’s chief secretary and the chairman of the Railway Board seeking detailed reports in the matter in four weeks, an NHRC spokesperson said.

The NHRC has taken suo motu cognisance of media reports that many people died on the spot and several others got seriously injured in Amritsar district of Punjab, where several people watching Dussehra celebrations from the railway tracks were mowed down by a passenger train on October 19.

“It seems that the local authorities and the organizers did not properly manage the crowd, gathered to watch the Dussehra celebrations. It was the responsibility of the State to provide proper safety and protection to the citizens during the event.

“If it is true, as reported in some sections of the media, that the railway authorities were not informed about the event, it indicates towards highly negligent and reckless attitude of the authorities responsible. This is a case of serious violation of human rights of the victims,” the NHRC said in a statement.

The state government is expected to provide all details to the NHRC regarding disbursement of relief and rehabilitation to the aggrieved families as well as information on the status of the treatment being provided to the injured in different hospitals of Amritsar, it said.