POLITICS
21/10/2018 12:40 PM IST | Updated 21/10/2018 12:47 PM IST

Locals Continue Sit-In Protest At Amritsar Train Accident Site

The rail tragedy that claimed 61 lives and left many injured during Dussehra festivities in Amritsar on Friday has turned into a political minefield.

Reuters
Women mourn the death of a relative after a commuter train traveling at high speed ran through a crowd of people on the rail tracks on Friday, outside a hospital in Amritsar, India, October 20, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

AMRITSAR -- The situation remained tense on Sunday as locals continued with their sit-in at Joda Patak where 61 Dussehra revellers were mowed down by a train. Locals had started protesting on Saturday, raising slogans against the state government and demanding action against the train's driver, a day after the accident in Amritsar.

Police said locals are sitting on railway tracks and do not want to leave.

"We hope that normalcy will be restored in the area by Sunday evening as the number of protestors have come down since Saturday," a senior police officer said. Punjab Police have deployed its personnel, including commandoes, to manage the crowd. The Rapid Action Force is also present in the Joda Patak area.

The district administration has said that out of 61 people who were mowed down by the speeding Jalandhar-Amritsar train on Friday, 40 have been identified. The process of identifying the other persons is underway, it said.

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, who visited the accident site on Saturday, has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.

The train was coming from Jalandhar when the accident occurred at Joda Phatak near Amritsar, where at least 300 people were watching 'Ravana dahan' at a ground adjacent to the tracks. The rail tragedy that claimed 61 lives and left many injured during Dussehra festivities in Amritsar on Friday has turned into a political minefield.

Opposition Akali Dal-BJP leaders have trained their guns on Punjab local government minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, saying his wife, Navjot Kaur, who was chief guest at the function, "fled the scene" after the accident. They also claimed the organiser Mithu Madan, son of councillor Vijay Madan, a Sidhu loyalist, overlooked security concerns and did not inform local Railway employees about the event, a claim denied by Sidhu loyalists.