Amritsar train accident: The blame game
The desire to apportion blame in the Amritsar train accident is understandable, but the revellers who chose to crowd the tracks broke a law which is there for a reason
So far, 60 people have died in the Amritsar train accident, making it the worst accident caused by “trespassing” in Indian Railways’ history.
Unsurprisingly, there have been accusations and counter-accusations at every level, including the political. Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has initiated a magisterial inquiry. It may well show that the train driver didn’t do all he could have according to procedure to slow the train. But this was not, ultimately, a situation of his making—or, given the number of people involved, one where it is likely the tragedy could have been avoided entirely. The railways have stood their ground here, and they have reason to do so.
There are other parties who could be culpable to various degrees—from the organizers if they failed to take the necessary permissions to the police if they didn’t cordon off the tracks. This is for the inquiry to find out. The desire to apportion blame in such a tragedy is understandable. But there is also a hard truth to be faced here: the revellers who chose to crowd the tracks broke a law which is there for good reason.
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