Commissioner of Railway Safety Shailesh Kumar Pathak, who conducted an investigation into the Amritsar train accident in which 62 people attending a Dussehra event were killed, said the incident occurred because of an “error in working by public near railway line”. The central government said in a statement that it was considering the findings of the preliminary report submitted by Pathak.
The report purportedly cleared the Railways of any wrongdoing in the incident, IANS reported. It said the negligence of people trespassing onto railway tracks at the time of the incident had led to the deaths. “Some of the policemen tried to move the crowd away from tracks, but the crowd did not listen to them,” the news agency quoted the report as saying.
On November 2, Pathak had announced that Indian Railways would conduct an investigation into the matter, but that initial evidence indicated that the railways was not responsible for the incident. The investigation was initiated two weeks after the incident, following Amritsar MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla’s request to Railways Minister Piyush Goyal.
On October 19, a train drove through a crowd standing on the railway tracks at a Dussehra event held on a ground near the tracks in Amritsar. A second train coming from the opposite side ran over those who had jumped out of the way of the first train.
The Railways had initially said the accident appeared to be a “case of trespassing”, while the organiser of the event had denied all responsibility for it. Wife of Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, had been invited as a special guest for the event. She had claimed she left the venue before the trains reached the spot, but Opposition parties alleged she had left after the tragedy.