New Delhi: To protest against the apathy of Captain Amarinder Singh-led Punjab Government and the railways towards the families of 59 people, who lost their lives after a speeding DMU train crushed them while they were watching Dusshera celebrations, local residents on Sunday blocked traffic around the Joda Phatak area in Amritsar.
Notably, the locals had stated protesting Saturday, raising slogans against the state government. They are demanding adequate compensation for the families of the victims and stern action against the train’s driver. “The government has not bothered for us who have lost family members. The government should give us a job as our bread-winner has been killed in the incident,” IANS quoted the mother of one of the victims as saying.
Lashing out at Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and his wife Navjot Kaur, who was the chief guest at the Dusshera function, family members of the train tragedy victims said that they had not even bothered to meet them despite their loss. “These people (political leaders) only come for functions or to beg for votes. No one has come to be with us in our hour of need and grief,” Pradeep Sharma, an area resident alleged.
Meanwhile, the Punjab Police has deployed its personnel, including commandos, to manage the crowd. The Rapid Action Force is also present in the Joda Patak area to avoid untoward incident. Police said locals are sitting on railway tracks and do not want to leave. “We hope that the normalcy will be restored in the area by Sunday evening as the number of protestors have come down since Saturday,” a senior police officer said.
Nearly 59 people died and scores were left injured in the accident between Manawala and Ferozpur stations near Amritsar, when the train ran through the crowd that had assembled across the tracks to watch the Dussehra event on October 19.
Earlier in the day, the Indian Railways has cancelled five trains and diverted 13 others in the wake of Amritsar train accident. On Saturday, a total of 37 trains stood cancelled while 16 others were diverted.