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.
‘People will not forgive Oppn’: PM after Pitroda raises questions on strike
New Delhi: Reacting to Pitroda’s comment, PM Modi said, “Opposition insults our forces time and again. I appeal to my fellow Indians- question Opposition leaders on their statements. Tell them- 130 crore Indians will not forgive or forget the Opposition for their antics. India stands firmly with our forces.”
“Loyal courtier of Congress’ royal dynasty admits what the nation already knew- Congress was unwilling to respond to forces of terror. This is a New India- we will answer militants in a language they understand and with interest,” read another tweet posted by PM Modi.
Minutes after PM Modi’s attack, Pitroda clarified his remarks stating that he was speaking in personal capacity and not on the behalf of the Congress party.
“I just said as a citizen I am entitled to know what happened. I am not talking on behalf of party, just speaking as a citizen. I have right to know, what is wrong in it,” news agency ANI quoted Pitroda as saying.
The prime minister also hit out at Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav, who on Thursday said that Pulwama attack was a “conspiracy” in which “soldiers were killed for votes”.
“Opposition is the natural habitat of terror apologists and questioners of our armed forces. This reprehensible statement by a senior leader like Ram Gopal Ji insults all those who have given their lives in protecting Kashmir. It humiliates the families of our martyrs,” PM Modi wrote on Twitter.
A CRPF convoy was targeted in a suicide bombing on February 14 in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama killing 40 soldiers. Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the attack.
On February 26, the IAF carried a strike at a camp, believed to be the biggest training centre of the Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan’s Balakot. The IAF later said that the mission was “successful”, which Pakistan denied.
Three fake campaigns of ‘compulsive contrarians’ busted in a single day: Jaitley
New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said fake campaigns of ‘compulsive contrarians’ on three issues – the Hindu terror theory, the Godhra incident and Nirav Modi case – were busted in a single day.
In the Samjhauta Express blast case, the trial court on Wednesday dismissed the UPA government’s theory of Hindu terror; while in the Godhra case, the court convicted one more person. Also, the fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi was arrested in the United Kingdom on the same day.
“…a fundamental difference between truth and falsehood is that truth holds together and falsehood falls apart. To each fake campaign of the ‘compulsive contrarians’ over a period of time, ultimately the truth has prevailed. Either it is the electoral mandate or the judicial process which gives the final verdict,” Jaitley said in his blog titled ‘Three Fake Campaigns Busted in a Single Day.’ Jaitley said Nirav Modi started cheating the public sector banks in 2011.
Modi’s crime was detected in 2018 by the banks and investigating agencies under the present government, Jaitley said, adding that Modi’s assets have been frozen, are being auctioned, criminal prosecution against him has been filed, recovery action for the dues owed to the banks and creditors are being pursued.
“On our request, he has now been arrested and denied bail. There is a strong unanswerable case against him and hopefully India will get him back. Whoever cheats India and its institutions cannot get away. He will be found out. This also busts the fake campaign that the present government had anything to do with him,” Jaitley said.
The minister said there is an inherent danger in relying only on fake issues. “I hope the manufacturers of fake campaign learn some lesson. They don’t seem to be considering their brazen attitude,” he added.
BJP denies Lok Sabha ticket to 6 UP lawmakers including Union Minister
Lucknow: Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, six BJP lawmakers from Uttar Pradesh, including Union Minister Krishna Raj and National Commission for Scheduled Castes chairman Ram Shankar Katheria, have been benched.
The BJP announced its first list of 184 candidates for the national elections , fielding Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh from Lucknow.
The party also nominated Smriti Irani from Amethi to take on Rahul Gandhi.
Others who have been refused party nominations are Anshul Verma from Hardoi, Babulal Chaudhary from Fatehpur Sikri, Anju Bala from Misrikh and Satya Pal Singh from Sambhal.
The new candidates who have been given tickets from these constituencies are SP Singh Baghel in Agra, Parameshwar Lal Saini in Sambhal, Raj Kumar Chaher in Fatehpur Sikri, Jai Prakash Rawat in Hardoi, Ashok Rawat in Misrikh and Arun Sagar in Shahjahanpur.
In the previous elections, with 5.8 lakh votes PM Modi had defeated AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal who had received 2 lakh votes in Varanasi.
In Lucknow, Rajnath Singh with 5.6 lakh votes defeated Rita Bahuguna Joshi of Congress by 2.7 lakh votes.
However, in Amethi, BJP’s Smriti Irani lost to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi by over one lakh votes.
In the first list in UP, the candidates who have got the ticket are: Raghav Lakhanpal (Saharanpur), Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan (Muzaffarnagar), Kunwar Bhartendra Singh (Bijnor), Rajendra Agrawal (Meerut), Satya Pal Singh (Baghpat), Vijay Kumar Singh (Ghaziabad) and Mahesh Sharma (Gautam Buddh Nagar).
Of them, VK Singh is Minister of State for External Affairs, Mahesh Sharma is the Union Minister of State (independent charge) for Culture, while Satya Pal Singh is the Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development. The current Lok Sabha MP from Bijnor is Kunwar Bharatendra Singh.
The parliamentary constituencies in the state, which will vote on April 11 in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections are Baghpat, Bijnor, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Kairana, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur.
Results will be declared on May 23.