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Protest held against administration at Amritsar Dussehra tragedy anniversary

| | Chandigarh
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Protest held against administration at Amritsar Dussehra tragedy anniversary

Wednesday, 09 October 2019 | PNS | Chandigarh

A year after 61 lives were lost while 70 others suffered serious injuries in a train tragedy near Joda Phatak in Amritsar on Dussehra, hundreds of people, comprising the next of kin of the victims, on Tuesday held a demonstration over alleged failure of the powers-that-be to book those “responsible” for the 2018 disaster.

At least 61 people were killed and over 70 sustained injuries in the tragic incident near Joda Phatak in Amritsar on October 19 last year during the Dussehra celebrations.

Upset with the Government and local administration, the families of the victims of the Amritsar train accident took out a protest march in Amritsar, and staged a dharna near the same railway tracks where a speeding train had mowed down 61 people who were watching Dussehra festival.

Earlier, the families had planned to protest on the railway tracks but were prevented by the administration.

The protestors raised slogans against Congress MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu for not keeping the promises made by him after the accident.

Notably, Sidhu and his wife had promised to provide government jobs to the kin of each victim, to adopt children who had lost their earning parents and help widows meet life expenses.

“We were told by Sidhu and his wife at the time of the accident that they will provide jobs to our families," a protestor, Sunil Kumar told the media.

Carrying the photo of his brother who died in the accident, he said that no promise made by the Sidhu couple has been fulfilled till date. “For the past many days, we have been visiting his residence and we were told every time that Sidhu is out of town,” he added.

“We are asking the State Government to hand over the probe to the CBI so that who were responsible for the accident should be brought to book,” another protestor Sangeeta Rani added.

While speaking to ANI, a protester said: “It has been a year but justice has not been meted out to us yet. So we are going to sit on protest on railway track...We had to do several rounds of offices the entire year.”

Punjab Ekta Party president and MLA from Bholath Sukhpal Singh Khaira had joined the protesters to express solidarity with them.

Khaira said that the denial of justice to the victims of rail tragedy was the colossal failure of the system. “The government didn’t seem to have learnt any lessons from such tragedies and no corrective or preventive measures have been taken,” he said.

On late Monday evening, SAD leaders had taken out a candle march in support of the victims' families.

Majithia had said that three inquiries into the incident were undertaken by the Government, but no action has been taken yet. He had stated that the investigation conducted by the Jalandhar Divisional Commissioner was aimed at saving the Congressmen who were responsible for the incident.

He had alleged that a close aide of the Sidhu couple, Mithu Madan, the organiser of Dussehra festival, was shielded by making the probes just a cover-up exercise.

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