Amritsar, Oct 19: Nearly 24 hours after the shocking Amritsar train tragedy, no responsibility has been fixed for the accident. Instead, blame game has started. With each of the government bodies denying responsibilities, it seems that over 60 victims had killed themselves. To make matters worse, dirty politics has started over the sad event. The local police had granted permisson to the organisers to hold the Ravan Dahan event. The permission allowed a gathering of 20,000 people, yet no arrangements were made by the police for safety of the people.
On the other hand, the Amritsar Municipal Corporation Saturday said no permission was granted to hold Dussehra celebrations at 'Dhobi ghat' ground here. "Nobody was given the permission for organising the Dussehra event. Moreover, nobody had applied for the permission with the Amritsar Municipal Corporation," Amritsar Municipal Corporation Commissioner Sonali Giri said here.Hours after 60 people were crushed to death by a train while watching the burning of a Ravana effigy here, the Railways on Saturday said it was not responsible for the tragedy. Northern Railways spokesperson Deepak Kumar said in a statement that the event was organised in an area which does not belong to the railways. It also said that neither the area administration nor the organisers informed it about any Dusshera ceremony at the spot."Therefore granting permission from the Railway's does not arise," he added. No information about the event was given to the railway authorities by the civil administration." He said at the time of the incident on Friday evening the gates of the manned level crossing were closed. The Railways also said that the driver cannot be blamed as applying brakes would have increased the magnitude of the disaster.In terms of action, an FIR against unknown persons has been lodged. Also, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ordered a magisterial probe into the Amritsar train tragedyto see if mandatory permissions for holding the function were given. Amarinder, who visited the accident site and the injured in hospitals on Saturday, said the Jalandhar Divisional Commissioner will conduct an inquiry within four weeks."Action will be taken against those responsible for the tragedy once the inquiry report comes. The probe will cover all aspects of the tragedy," he said.Asked if there were any lapses on the part of the railways, the Chief Minister said the probe would look into the matter."It (the probe) will ascertain whether approvals for holding the function were given or not," Amarinder said.Amarinder Singh, who reached the accident site on Saturday from Delhi, said the inquiry will look into all aspects, including whether the train followed the signals and if there was any trespassing."It's a terrible tragedy, we all accept it. The inquiry will find out who is at fault and who is not. I cannot prejudge an inquiry. Let them come up with the report. I have given four weeks for the inquiry to be completed," he said.He said while the railways was also probing the causes, the state government will hold its own inquiry. "This is not the time for making allegations. The tragedy needs to be dealt with in a proper manner. All parties should come together at this time of grief," he said.Even as government agencies denying responsibilities, dirty politics has satrted. Opposition accused the state's Congress government for lapses in allowing celebrations near railway tracks and Punjab minister Navjot Sidhu's wife facing allegations of leaving the site soon after the incident.Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who was the chief guest at the event, later talked to media at a hospital where injured were taken and said her priority was to ensure they receive proper treatment."The effigy of Ravana was burnt and I had just left the site when the incident happened. Priority should be to get the injured treated," she said. She also asked people to refrain from politicising the issue.Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal termed the accident as a ‘massacre’. “This is a mass murder...no...it’s a mass massacre,” Badal said. y. “The action taken in the matter is shameful and inadequate,” he added.Union minister and Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal said the entire onus was on the state government. "There are not enough words to mourn the Amritsar train tragedy that claims so many innocent lives. My deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones. The incident needs to be probed as it casts serious question on administration," she tweeted.BJP leader and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the initial reports suggest it was a tragedy that could have been avoided.Another Akali leader Bikram Majithia said he was distressed to hear the unfortunate news of the train accident."The authorities concerned must be held accountable for the ill-fated accident & strict action must be taken against the guilty police officers and organisers," he said.Some opposition leaders also alleged that the Dussehra was organised by the Congress near the tracks without receiving any proper approval.Former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal demanded an inquiry by a retired high court judge to fix responsibility and punish the guilty.Meanwhile, Punjab minister and local MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu defending his wife said that the mowing down of 61 Dussehra revellers by a train here was an accident and that nobody had done it intentionally. He, however, said there was a "big negligence" and asked his detractors not to do politics over the incident. "It was an unfortunate incident. I talked to few people who told me that some people were standing on the rail track and some were sitting on a stone near the track," the minister told reporters.
"When effigy of Ravana was lit, some people retreated back. Then the train came with a great speed and there was no horn and people did not come to know (about the approaching train) and it happened in a matter of just one or two seconds," he said. Defending his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who was accused of leaving the accident site without bothering about the victims, the state culture minister said she was attending to patients at the hospital when allegations were being levelled against her. "When I talked to my wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu Friday, she was in a hospital," he said."I fought elections from here because of my wife. She has been working here. Friday night, when accusations were being levelled against her, she was with patients. She called me up Friday. She came to know about the incident before reaching home. She then immediately reached here," Sidhu said. Refusing to point fingers, the minister said, "Nobody has done it deliberately. However, there is a big negligence (behind this incident)...when I talk about negligence, some people did not even understand their responsibility," he added.