Amritsar: The driver of the DMU (diesel multiple unit) train that crushed 59 people to death near Jora Phatak area of Amritsar city has reportedly admitted to applying emergency brake as he witnessed a crowd near the track. However, some people were mowed by the train. Earlier on Saturday, Arvind Kumar was detained and interrogated by the Punjab Police officials. During questioning he asserted that he continued with the journey after getting a green signal.

In a written statement to the Railways administration, as quoted by an Indian Express report, he said, “Suddenly I saw a crowd of people near the track. I constantly sounded the horn as I immediately applied the emergency brake. Despite applying emergency brake, some people were run over by the train. The train was almost coming to a halt when a very large crowd started attacking the train by throwing stones. Considering the safety of my passengers, I proceeded with the train.”

Amritsar Train Tragedy Not a Rail Accident, Driver Not at Fault

On the other hand, Northern Railway ‘s Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) Deepak Kumar on Saturday ascertained that preliminary questioning with the driver does not prove him at fault.

“To ascertain the cause of the accident, everyone involved is questioned. The driver has also been part of the preliminary investigation and there is no suspension as of yet. Prima facie he is not being seen at fault, he was driving the train at its regular speed. Amritsar-Howrah Mail had passed the same spot two minutes before the accident occurred,” Kumar said.

The Railways also asserted that the tragedy is not a rail accident but a case of trespassing. It said that it will not provide any compensation to the bereaved families.

Magisterial Probe Ordered by Punjab Government

Meanwhile, the Punjab government on Saturday ordered a magisterial probe into the accident. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Saturday said that a magisterial inquiry into the train accident will be conducted and the report will be submitted in four weeks. “We are announcing a magisterial probe into the incident. The divisional commissioner of Jalandhar has been entrusted with the job of holding the inquiry,” Singh told reporters.

On Friday, a large number of people were witnessing the burning of Ravana effigy while standing along the railway tracks when a Jalandhar to Amritsar DMU train crushed them near Joda Phatak area.

Punjab CM has announced a compesation of Rs 5 lakh to families of deceased whereas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to families of those killed in the Amritsar train tragedy.