Amritsar Train Accident| 'That Was Not The Train That Crushed The People. It Was Our System', Says An Eye-witness As He Recalls The Horror

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The system has failed us, says the account of the eye-witness of the Amritsar train accident that took place on Friday evening during Dussehra celebrations.

Written By Digital Desk | Mumbai | Updated On:

Shockingly, I was not that surprised with the Amritsar train mishap, perhaps because I saw the rotten face of our system which has failed us, when the wife of one of our colleagues committed suicide due to non-payment of salary by Vijay Mallya.

That was not the train that crushed the people. It was our system. The killer train would be a classic example of "transferred epithet". Unfortunately, I was present at the site where relatives did not even have the time to mourn their loved ones, because they were busy taking the injured to the hospital. Some were busy in matching the body parts of their relatives to make it a whole body. In fact, I heard a man shouting, while people were carrying a body - " Aree haath reh Gaya" (Please take "hand" along).

The pondering question here is, 'What those people were trying to collect'? Again, in my opinion, it was the different parts of our system which were cut into pieces that the people were trying to collect. What those organs represent:

  1. Local administration
  2. Police
  3. Railways
  4. Politicians
  5. Sense of discipline
  6. Our method of dealing with such accidents. (Estimate cost of death ignoring the value of life, Order investigation, move on)

Well, the list is endless.

As an aviation person, we are taught "The Swiss cheese model of accident causation", that prevents an accident by multiple protection of layers or safety nets and all the layers have to puncture for an accident to happen. In our case, all the layers were already punctured and people were on the mercy of God. Today, it seems God was also busy thus, the inevitable happened.

While some abuses, some tears the posters of local politicians, there are many who are relieved after putting a bed sheet on the mutilated body once they have assembled all the pieces together. At the same time, some consolatory statements on social media occur mourning the tragic incident that has led to so many deaths.

Finally, comes the "bedsheet", the announcement of investigation and compensation. As a student, I never really understood "transferred epithet". But now, I can never forget it.

Ending on a positive note, we have to come out of the culture of putting bed sheets. We should value life rather than compensating death. Sensitive and qualified people should come forward and become leaders and their objective should not be just to be the chief guest. Police should protect the common man as well. Railway staff should be trained to the standards we follow in aviation. I am ready to help by taking classes on "Human Factors", as I am an approved instructor by DGCA.

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