Amritsar wakes up to mass cremations and mourning

Amritsar wakes up to mass cremations and mourning

As mortuaries in the holy city of Amritsar struggled for space to accommodate the mortal remains of those killed in Friday’s train accident, cremation grounds in the city witnessed mass cremations.

Most of the 61 people, who were crushed under the train were from states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Relief and rescue operation gathered momentum amid protests from residents to set accountability for the tragedy.

Identifying some of the deceased is posing a challenge with bodies that have badly crushed limbs being brought to hospitals.

Corpses lay outside mortuaries with wailing family members waiting for post-mortem reports.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh who reached Amritsar this morning gave a 4-week deadline for completion of an inquiry into the accident—  the probe is to be carried out by the divisional commissioner of Jalandhar.

As blame game over the accident gathered pace, Amarinder urged political parties to rise above petty politicking and join hands to mitigate the sufferings of the victims and their families.

“Action will be taken against those responsible for the tragedy once the inquiry report comes. The probe will cover all aspects of the tragedy”, he said.

On lapses on the part of the railways, he said that the probe will look into the matter and will ascertain whether approvals for holding the function were given or not.

A 3-member crisis management group, headed by health minister Brahm Mohindra, will camp in Amritsar as long as they are needed to monitor and assist in the relief operations.

Top police officials have also been asked to stay in Amritsar till they are required to ensure that the situation stabilises.

The chief minister was at the airport ready to leave for Tel Aviv when he was informed about the accident. He returned postponing his Israel visit.

Mourning will continue in Amritsar district till Monday. The national flag will fly at half-mast and all educational institutions will remain closed in this period.

Amarinder said that he was pained to see two little girls in the hospital who had lost their entire families in the accident.

The state government has already announced free treatment for the injured at all government and private hospitals in the district, besides Rs 5 lakh compensation will be given to the families of those killed in the accident.

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