Trespassing on Tracks Continues Even a Year After Amritsar Tragedy
Video Editor: Vivek Gupta
A year after 62 people watching Dussehra celebrations from the tracks were mowed down by a Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) train in Amritsar’s Joda Phatak area, people residing near the railway tracks continue to trespass on the tracks.
Trespassing on the tracks is a punishable offence under Section 147 and 160 of the Railways Act, 1989. Despite multiple recommendations from the Railways to deploy security personnel at vulnerable points along railway lines, there is not a single RPF or GRP to prohibit people from crossing the tracks.
Right after the accident on 19 October 2018, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal had reportedly decided to build a 3,000-km wall to fence the tracks and keep trespassers away. Though the fence has been built on one side of the track, it’s too low to act as a deterrent for people crossing over to the other side.
People living on either side of the railway tracks told The Quint that the distance from one manned crossing to the other is too much for them to travel. And with no foot over-bridges to cross over to the other side, they simply use the tracks.
However, it must also be noted that even with a minute’s distance from the manned level crossing, people use the tracks to cross to the other side.
A probe by Chief Commissioner of the Railway Safety had blamed the entire incident on negligence and trespassing by people.
Another probe, ordered by CM Amarinder Singh, had submitted its report last year but was never made public. The latter enquiry had reportedly indicted the organiser the local administration and the railway gateman. It is said to have given a clean chit to the Sidhus, including Navjot Kaur, who was the chief guest at the event.
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