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Salman accident case: Plea seeks probe into death of witness

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Mumbai: A Pune-based rights activist has sought a probe into the circumstances surrounding the death of actor Salman Khan’s bodyguard Ravindra Patil, who was also a witness in the 2002 accident in which the actor was convicted in May.

The demand for a probe by the state government was made in a public interest litigation (PIL) filed before the Bombay High Court on Thursday.

Petitioner-activist Hemant Patil has contended that legal action must be initiated against Salman who allegedly pressurised the witness not to reveal the facts of the accident during the trial.

The petition is likely to come up for hearing before the court sometime next week, Hemant Patil’s lawyer R.N. Kachave said.

The petitioner claimed that during the trial, it was revealed that Salman and other unknown people used undue influence upon the late bodyguard.

Attempts were also made to prevent Ravindra Patil from giving the true version and correct statements pertaining to the accident, it was claimed.

Quoting some media reports, Kachave said Ravindra Patil had disappeared for some time and was later found dead under mysterious circumstances, which need to be probed.

He said Ravindra Patil even did not appear before the court which issued a non-bailable warrant against him, as he feared Salman and his associates, but instead of giving him protection, he was hounded and jailed.

Salman_Khan_at_Renault_Star_Guild_Awards

It was after his release from jail that Ravindra Patil disappeared and was later traced to a hotel in the Mahabaleshwar hill station by a police team.

Subsequently, it transpired that he was suffering from tuberculosis and breathed his last on October 4, 2007.

“A probe into all this could throw more light into the entire accident case involving the actor and the truth can come out,” Kachave said.

Salman was found guilty and sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment by a Mumbai session court last month in the September 28, 2002 accident in Bandra which left one dead and four others injured.

His plea challenging the conviction will come up before the high court on July 1. (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)