Dalbir Singh, who played the role of Ravan in a Ramlila in Amritsar, died in the tragic train accident during Dussehra celebrations on Friday. The accident happened when a train coming from Jalandhar ran over people who were watching ‘Ravana dahan’ at a ground near railway tracks. At least 61 people have lost their lives in the accident while 72 are critically injured.
Reacting to the tragedy, Dalbir Singh’s mother has requested the government to take care of his family. “I appeal to the govt to provide a job to my daughter-in-law. She also has an 8-month old baby,” she told ANI.
Angry over the incident, people from adjoining areas said that Dussehra celebrations have been happening at this place for over 20 years. However, Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani in a statement said that the railways was not informed about the event that was happening near the tracks. He further said that the accident occurred at a stretch between two stations — Amritsar and Manawala.
Explaining why the Railways was not alerted about the gathering by its officials, Lohani said that “at midsections, trains run at their assigned speed and people are not expected to be on the tracks. At midsections, there is no railway staff posted. We have staff at level crossings whose job is to regulate traffic.”
Speaking on the accident, Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said that it was a sad and an unfortunate incident. “It is necessary to understand that it was an accident. There has been negligence but it was never intentional or motivated,” he told ANI.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has postponed his Israel trip and will reach Amritsar to assess the situation and meet the families of the victims.