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Amritsar mishap not a train accident, won't give any compensation, says Railways

Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha had already said that there was no need for Railways to hold an enquiry into the mishap.

Amritsar mishap not a train accident, won't give any compensation, says Railways

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways will not be giving any compensation to victims of the Amritsar mishap as they are not including it in the list of train accidents. 

Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha has already said that there was no need for Railways to hold an enquiry into the mishap. "Drivers are given specific instructions on where to slow down. There was a curve, the driver couldn't have seen it. About what should we order an inquiry? Trains travel in speed only," Sinha said. He also said that people should restrain from organising such events near railway tracks.  

While some people have been holding them responsible for the incident, Railway authorities have been defending themselves saying that train speeds are pre-set and emergency brakes even if applied are not effective enough to halt it at a moment's notice. Also, since the accident took place in the dark, the driver may not have seen the presence of such a large number of people on the tracks.

Meanwhile, the family of a 13-year-old boy who died in the accident is protesting with his body at the Amritsar-Jalandhar highway. They are demanding a compensation for the death of their child from the authorities.

Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani had said in a statement that the Railways was not intimated about a Dussehra event along the tracks. He said that the accident occurred at a stretch between two stations -- Amritsar and Manawala, and not at a level crossing. 

"At midsections, trains run at their assigned speed and people are not expected to be on the tracks. At midsections, there is no railway staff posted. We have staff at level crossings whose job is to regulate traffic," he said, explaining why the Railways was not alerted about the congregation by its staff.

He said that the gateman was 400 metres away at a level crossing. He added that if the driver had applied emergency breaks, there could have been a bigger tragedy.

Lohani claimed that the train was running at its assigned speed and initial reports suggest that the driver applied brakes and the train slowed down. "There was no information and no permission sought from us. The event took place at a place adjoining the railway land in private property," he said.

An FIR against unknown persons was filed under section 304, 304A, 337 and 338 of the IPC at the GRP Police Station on Saturday. During the Dussehra celebrations on Friday, more than 60 people were killed and over 70 injured when the people were watching the burning of the Ravana effigy from a railway track.