Amritsar: Amid tension and tight security, train services were partially restored on the Amritsar-Jalandhar railway section as the Punjab Police booked unidentified protesters on Sunday who clashed with the police at the spot where 59 people were crushed by a speeding train on Friday. A near-empty passenger train was plied on the railway section amid tight security measures on Sunday evening.
Railway services on the track on this section had been suspended following the train disaster. Punjab Police personnel stood guard on both sides of the railway tracks near Joda Phatak (railway gate) area of Amritsar to prevent any protesters from getting near the tracks. Earlier in the day, railway authorities plied a cargo train on the same section. The cargo train also had empty bogies.
The police booked unidentified protesters who clashed with them on Sunday morning as the police began clearing the railway tracks in the area. The protesters were booked for rioting and attempt to murder. The protesters indulged in stone-pelting, leaving at least half-a-dozen policemen injured. The police resorted to cane-charge and even arrested one person.
Protests staged by residents against the Punjab government and the railways turned violent on Sunday. Police had to rush reinforcements to the area. The injured policemen, including a Punjab Police commandos, were rushed to a government hospital. Residents of the area threw stones at the police when the latter tried to remove them from the railway tracks where the tragedy occurred.
The protesters were demanding action against organisers of the Dusshera function near Joda Phatak for which hundreds of people had gathered to see the burning of the Ravan effigy. The people were watching the proceedings from the railway tracks when the Jalandhar-Amritsar DMU (diesel multiple unit) train crushed them.
Family members of the train tragedy victims said Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and his wife Navjot Kaur, who was the chief guest at the Dusshera function on Friday, had not even bothered to meet them despite their loss.
The Punjab government headed by Amarinder Singh on Saturday ordered a magisterial probe into the train tragedy. The probe will cover if mandatory permissions for holding the function were given. The railways said it was not responsible for the incident. Opposition Shiromani Akali Dal demanded that a case of murder be registered against the organisers, who were mostly ruling Congress leaders.