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Train driver is lying, say eyewitnesses; slam statements

Amritsar tragedy

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AMRITSAR: Several eye-witnesses have slammed the locomotive driver’s statement in the Amritsar train incident that mowed down 61 onlookers and injured over 50 people participating in the Dusshera revelries .

“I was at the spot. Leave alone stopping, the train did not even slow down. It seemed as if the driver wanted to mow us down. The train passed us in a matter of seconds. Is it logically possible for us to pelt stones at the train when so many people were dead and injured around us? Is it possible for us to get our bearings after such an incident and pelt stones at a speeding train? The driver is lying,” Shailender Singh Shally, Councillor, Ward Number 46, Amritsar, said.

The clean-up operation, which resumed, continued at the site – on Monday morning.

 

Locals, who have been protesting against the accident, claimed that the people celebrating Dussehra at the accident spot had pelted stones at the train.

“He did not even slow down, let alone almost stopping. The train was in such speed that the accident happened in split seconds. There are hundreds of videos that show how fast the train went. There was no chance of us reacting, leave alone pelt stones. All we could hear around us was people screaming and crying,” Paramjeet Singh, another onlooker, said.

Arvind Kumar, the driver of the train which crushed 61 people to death, said that he knew that people were killed but had to keep driving for the safety of the passengers. In his statement, the driver said that he applied the emergency brakes while continuously honking yet some people came under the train.

“I saw a crowd of people around the track. I immediately applied emergency brakes while continuously blowing the horn. Still some people came under it. The train was about to stop when people started pelting stones, so I started the train for the safety of the passengers,” the train driver said.

Speaking on the incident, Minister of State for Railways, Manoj Sinha, said, “I believe that the statement of Amritsar Police Commissioner must be an authorised statement of Punjab government. He said that we (Railways) didn’t give any permission regarding the event.”

The maximum speed of the train, which was a Diesel Electrical Multiple Unit (DEMU) is 96 kmph, once brakes are applied, this kind of train stops completely in about 300 metres if empty, and in 600 metres if full, officials said. The last recorded speed of the train, according to Divisional Railway Manager (Ferozpur) Vivek Kumar, was 68 kmph, reported PTI.

“As the train passed, I heard people screaming and shouting. There was no stone pelting. I don’t understand why the driver would make up such a thing. Will people who are seeing their loved ones lying in pools of blood leave them and pick up stones to hit the train?

“Anyway, the speed of the train was such that even if people wanted to pelt stones, by the time they collected them, the train would have disappeared from sight. He is lying,” Ajay Goenka, who was present at the spot, said.

Local police too corroborated the claims of the eyewitnesses and said that not just the train was travelling at a high speed, there were no reports of stone pelting at the site of the incident on October 19.

After more than 40 hours on Sunday of the Amritsar train accident in Punjab, the train services resumed on Sunday after the Punjab police removed protesters from the railway tracks.


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National

Centre, Assam move SC seeking extension of deadline for final NRC

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New Delhi: The Centre and the Assam government on Friday moved the Supreme Court seeking extension of the July 31 deadline for finalisation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The Centre told a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that India could not be the refugee capital of the world.

The Union and state governments also sought sample verification of the citizens included in the NRC, saying lakhs of people had been wrongly included in areas bordering Bangladesh due to involvement of local officers.

 

The first draft of the NRC for Assam was published on the intervening night of December 31, 2017 and January 1, 2018 in accordance with the top court’s direction. Names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated then.

Assam, which had faced influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC which was first prepared in 1951.

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Maya targets BJP, asks it to make public its source of funds during polls

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New Delh: BSP chief Mayawati on Friday targeted the BJP asking it to make public the source of funds received by it during elections and alleged that it could not tolerate when people of deprived sections progressed in business.

The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister’s remarks came a day after the Income Tax Department attached a ‘benami’ commercial plot worth Rs 400 crore in Noida belonging to her brother and his wife.

She asked the BJP to make public the source of Rs 2,000 crore it allegedly collected during elections.

 

“Everybody knows that during elections the BJP got Rs 2,000 crore in its accounts. It is not clear who gave it the money and everyone wants to know its source. Is it benami?” she asked.

She alleged that votes of the poor and deprived were bought in the polls through these funds.

The BJP could not tolerate when people of the deprived sections progressed, especially in business, and used power and government machinery against them, she claimed.Their attempt to crush the voice of the deprived people would not succeed, Mayawati said, adding that her supporters should not think that when she was not spared, what would happen to them.

She said that before pointing a finger at others, the party should introspect.

“If they think they are Harishchander (honest) they should hold a probe about the wealth of their people before and after coming into politics,” she said.

The provisional order for the attachment of the seven-acre plot, beneficially owned by Anand Kumar and his wife Vichiter Lata, was issued on July 16 by the department’s Delhi-based Benami Prohibition Unit (BPU).

Mayawati recently appointed her brother Kumar as national vice president of the BSP.

Benami properties are those in which the real beneficiary is not the one in whose name the property has been purchased.

The plot, where a five-star hotel and other luxury facilities were planned to be created, is registered at no 2A, Sector 94, Noida, in UP’s Gautam Budh Nagar district, part of the National Capital Region.

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3 men beaten to death over suspicion of cattle theft in Bihar

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Saran: Two men were beaten to death by locals after suspecting the duo to be cattle thieves in Baniyapur in Saran district on Friday morning, police said.

Villagers claimed that three persons came to steal cows. However, when they tried to catch them, one of the men managed to flee.

“The duo was beaten up by the villagers in a fit of rage. Investigation in the case is underway,” the police said.

 

The bodies of the deceased have been sent for postmortem.

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