Services on the railway track at Jora Phatak near Amritsar resumed on Sunday, 40 hours after the tragic accident that killed 59 people during Dussehra celebrations.
“First goods train started from Manawala to Amritsar at 1416 hours,” said Northern Railways spokesperson Deepak Kumar. This train will be followed by mail/express trains, he said. Senior Divisional Security Commissioner (Railways), Firozpur Division, S Sudharkar told PTI, “Train services have resumed on the affected rail track (Joda Phatak). A goods train was allowed to run on this track.”
Earlier in the day, locals protesting near Jora Phatak, pelted stones and clashed with police personnel after they were removed from the railway tracks. The group, however, was dispersed as the police chased them into the adjoining Krishnanagar locality. Punjab Police tried to remove the protesters who have been blocking the railway track since Friday evening when 59 Dussehra revellers were mowed down by speeding trains coming from opposite directions as they watched a Ravan effigy being burnt. The protesters were raising slogans against the state government and demanding Navjot Singh Sidhu to resign as Cabinet Minister. Sidhu’s wife was present at the celebrations when the incident took place.
As soon as the police started removing the protesters, people resorted to stone pelting. A Punjab Police commando and a photojournalist were injured in the clashes. The situation is tense at and around the site and a huge police deployment has been made to maintain law and order, police said.
Officials said that personnel from the Punjab Police and Rapid Action Force have been deployed alongside the state police commandos.