NHRC notices to the Government of Punjab and the Chairman, Railway Board over mowing down of more than 60 people by a train in Amritsar on Dussehra (22.10.2018)


New Delhi, 22nd October, 2018

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that more than 60 people died on the spot and several others got seriously injured in Amritsar district of Punjab, where several people watching Dussehra celebrations from the railway tracks were mowed down by a passenger train on the 19th October, 2018.

The Commission has issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Government of Punjab and the Chairman, Railway Board, Ministry of Railways, New Delhi calling for a detailed report in the matter, within four weeks. The State Government is expected to provide all the details regarding disbursement of relief and rehabilitation to the aggrieved families as well as the information on the status of the treatment being provided to the injured in different hospitals of Amritsar.

Issuing the notices, the Commission has observed that it cannot be said to be a sane act by people to sit on the railway tracks, at the same time, the negligence on the part of the district authorities is apparent behind this bizarre and horrific incident. It seems that the local authorities and the organizers did not properly managed the crowd, gathered to watch the Dussehra celebrations. It was the responsibility of the State to provide proper safety and protection to the citizens during the event. If it is true, as reported in some sections of the media, that the railway authorities were not informed about the event, it indicates towards highly negligent and reckless attitude of the authorities responsible. This is a case of serious violation of human rights of the victims.

According to the media reports, several people were sitting on the railway track, taking photographs and enjoying burning of the effigy of Ravan, when a train passed through crushing the people. The Government Railway Police (GRP) have registered a case of culpable homicide and causing death by negligence against un-identified persons, on a complaint given by a local police officer. The Railway authorities have stated that they cannot be blamed, as they were not informed about the ceremony.