The locomotive pilot claimed that he did not stop the train because the crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks started pelting stones
Chandigarh: While the death toll of the Amritsar accident is still rising, there has been a lot of confusion with the statement of the train driver.
The loco pilot, who immediately informed the station master at the next station about the incident, said that he applied the emergency brakes and continuously honked to get people off the tracks.
However, witnesses rubbish the driver’s claim and said that the train did not slow down anywhere near the spot.
"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, according to PTI.
"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.
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 68kmph.
"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.
With inputs from PTI
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Last Updated Oct 22, 2018, 3:50 PM IST