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Good karma to yield returns; Modi government to reward people helping accident victims

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New Delhi: The central government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has proposed rewarding good samaritans or bystanders who help rush road accident victims to hospitals for treatment, according to an official notification issued here on Friday.

The detailed guidelines pertaining to the role and contribution of such good samaritans or bystanders in helping accident victims, and affording them adequate protection under the law were issued following an October 29, 2014, Supreme Court order in response to a PIL filed by NGO SaveLife Foundation.

Piyush Tiwari, the petitioner and founder of SaveLife Foundation, welcomed the move although it is an “interim measure”.

“These guidelines will help create a supportive environment for bystanders to come forward and help injured persons without fear of intimidation or harassment by police and hospitals. The onus is now on state governments to ensure implementation of these guidelines,” Tiwari said in a statement.

The guidelines now make it clear that the good samaritan or bystander who rushed the accident victims to hospital will be allowed to leave immediately after providing their addresses.

They would be rewarded suitably for their service to encourage more citizens to help accident victims as, according to SaveLife Foundation, 75 percent of people do not help as they fear police harassment.

Similarly, those who call the police to inform them about accidents would not be compelled to reveal their name or personal details either on phone or in person, said the guidelines issued under the name of Sanjay Bandopadhyaya, joint secretary of the ministry of road transport and highways, vide an extraordinary gazette.

The gazette notification would be implemented across the nation if approved by the Centre.

“The disclosure of personal information… shall be made voluntary and optional including in the medico-legal case form provided by the hospital. Disciplinary or departmental action shall be initiated by the government against officials who coerce or intimidate a bystander or good samaritan for revealing his name or personal details,” the guidelines say.

In case, a bystander voluntarily says he/she is witness to the accident, one would be called for an examination to the court only once by police to ensure he/she is not harassed or intimidated.

For the purpose, standard operating procedures, including video-conferencing of the good samaritan and other guidelines must be prepared within a month from June 5, 2015.

All government and private hospitals have also been directed not to detain the bystander or demand any payment or admission costs, unless the victim is related to the good samaritan, and doctors who do not respond shall be liable for professional misconduct and disciplinary action. (IANS)

 

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The Families Of Victims In Railway Accident Incident In India Stage Protests

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the accident a "heart-wrenching tragedy" and asked officials to provide immediate assistance to the injured.

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People gather at the site of an accident after a train traveling at high speed ploughed through a crowd of people on rail tracks near Amritsar, India. VOA

Angry relatives of the scores of people who were killed in India when they were run over by a speeding train staged protests Saturday while one of the country’s railway officials maintains the railway is not responsible for the tragic accident.

The train was traveling at high speed when it ploughed through a crowd Friday at a religious festival on the outskirts of the northern city of Amritsar, killing 59 people, Punjab state’s Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, told reporters Saturday. Singh said 57 others were injured and an official investigation would be carried out over the next four weeks.

The Jalandhar-Amritsar express was traveling at 90 kilometers per hour when it hit the crowd, which had gathered on the tracks to watch a fireworks display marking the Hindu festival of Dussehra.

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The Hindu festival of Dussehra.

Hundreds of relatives of the victims engaged in sporadic protests on and near the tracks Saturday, calling for action against local authorities and the train operator, who was questioned Saturday by police.

Authorities moved the protestors off the tracks and brought in reinforcements to control the crowd.

‘No lapse on our part’

The railway accident was India’s worst in years, but the junior minister who manages Indian Railways, the world’s fourth largest rail system, refused to accept responsibility.

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A man mourns next to the burning pyre of a family member who died after a train traveling at high speed ploughed through a crowd of people, at a cremation site in Amritsar, India. VOA

“Railways cannot be blamed. Railways were not informed about the ceremony,” Manoj Sinha told reporters Saturday. Speaking to reporters, Sinha ruled out any punitive action against his staff, saying, “There was no lapse on our part and no action against the driver will be initiated.”

Local government officials said the festival takes place every year on the outskirts of Amritsar and that railroad authorities are alerted to run the trains at slow speeds.

Witnesses said the victims did not realize the train was coming because of the sound of the fireworks and celebrations.

‘Heart-wrenching’

Some witnesses said the train did not sound its whistle as it sped past the festival site.

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With India, Indian Railway is also digitizing, Pixels

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the accident a “heart-wrenching tragedy” and asked officials to provide immediate assistance to the injured.

Also Read: India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

India’s railway network remains the main form of travel in the vast country, where railway accidents are relatively common.

Millions of Hindus celebrate the Dussehra festival by burning giant effigies of the demon Ravana, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil. (VOA)