2018 Amritsar Train Accident Protest
Families of the victims of 2018 Amritsar train accident stage a protest march in Amritsar (Image: Twitter)

Families of the deceased of 2018 Amritsar train tragedy staged a protest march on Tuesday, October 8, in Amritsar to mark the anniversary and demanding justice for their kins. 

Hundreds of protesters raised slogans against the alleged failure of the local administration to book those who were responsible for the disaster that claimed 61 lives.

The accident took place last year during Dussehra celebrations, in which at least 61 people were killed and several others injured in Joda Pathak when a train crushed the revellers who had spilt on the railway tracks to watch the Ravana effigy burn. 

A victim's family member expressed: "It has been a year but justice has not been meted out to us yet. So we are going to sit on protest on the railway track. We had to do several rounds of offices for the entire year."

Recently, the families had staged a protest outside the Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu's residence in Amritsar. 

navjot singh sidhu

His wife, Navjot Kaur, a former legislator and ex-chief parliamentary secretary, was the chief guest at the Dussehra festival near Joda Phatak when the DMU (diesel multiple unit) crushed those standing on the railway tracks.

The protesters claim that Sidhu failed to fulfil the promises of adopting the families that lost the bread earning member and to handle all their expenses. They added that Sidhu also did not provide government jobs and free education to at least one of the family member of the victim, as promised by him.  

"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 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 was responsible for the accident should be brought to book," another protestor Sangeeta Rani added.

At least 61 people were killed after a speeding train sliced through revellers watching a Ravana effigy go up in flames, near Joda Phatak in Amritsar on October 19, 2018.

Sidhu and his wife have gone into hibernation since he quit the government in July, said a 20-year-old college student, who lost his father in the accident.

Ramesh Kumar, who lost his son in the accident, said: "I got the compensation from the government. But Sidhu and his wife promised me to provide a job for my second son as we lost the lone breadwinner."

A candlelight procession led by former Akali Dal minister Bikram Majithia was carried out here on Monday evening which saw the participation of the victims' families.

Majithia said three inquiries into the incident were undertaken by the government, but no action has been taken yet.

He said the investigation conducted by the Jalandhar Divisional Commissioner was aimed at saving the Congressmen who were responsible for the incident.

He said 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.

Sidhu, who had been at loggerheads with Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, formally resigned on July 14.

Since then he made a public appearance only once and visited his constituency Amritsar (East) to oversee developmental projects briefly.

(Inputs from agency)