Amritsar train accident: Driver detained, says had been given green signal

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A witness said the train didn't even sound its whistle as it sped past the site, where hundreds were watching the burning of an effigy of demon Ravana during the Hindu festival of Dussehra. "We are announcing a magisterial probe into the incident", Singh said.

Railway officials have also mentioned that they were not likely to compensate the deceased as they were not passengers in the train. "I have lost my world", Kumar wept outside Guru Nanak Hospital. "Moreover, nobody had applied for the permission with the Amritsar Municipal Corporation", Commissioner Sonali Giri said.

The Jalandhar-Amritsar express was travelling at 55mph when it reached the scene of the tragedy in Amritsar. Mithu Madan is the son of Vijay Madan, a Congress councillor in the area.

The families protests came even as reports emerged that Congress leader and Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu's wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu was the chief guest at the Ravana effigy burning event. "The tragic incident could have been averted, had Navjot Kaur Sidhu turned up at the venue on time and had the function not been delayed", said Deepak who works as a painter to PTI.

The negligence that led to the Amritsar tragedy was also the reason behind the Thalaserry train accident. Navjot Singh Sidhu, her husband, rubbished the allegations.

He said four weeks have been given to submit the report to find out who was at fault. The train driver has not been arrested as he was not named in the FIR, he added.

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Scores of protesters who gathered on the railway tracks condemned the Punjab state government and demanded action against the driver who was questioned by police on Saturday. According to them, the driver did not slow the train down despite the huge crowd present. "Why did the government not ensure proper security arrangements?"

Police said they were still looking to ascertain the death toll, as some bodies were mangled beyond recognition. Some desperate families went from hospital to hospital in the northern city of Amritsar on Saturday looking for missing relatives, while the first funerals of some victims were held.

A day after the Amritsar train tragedy, 37 trains were cancelled and 16 trains were diverted. "If top light was working then you can see three km because train had a glass (window) at the front for view", he said.

Manoj Sinha, federal junior minister for Indian Railways, ruled out any punitive action against his staff, including the driver.

Earlier Chairman Railway Board Ashwani Lohani had explained that the accident site falls under the "mid-section of the two stations" where the trains run at their "assigned speed" as per the condition of the track. "There was no information and no permission sought from us". "People were trespassing the railway lines when the incident took place".

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