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WATCH: India railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw prays as first train moves on restored tracks after deadly Odisha crash

He was accompanied with other officials and the minister was also found telling them something apparently to encourage them.

Indian railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw prays as the first train moves on the tracks that were restored following a horrific three-train crash in Balasore in the eastern Indian state of Odisha on June 2, 2023. (Picture: Twitter screngrabs/@AshwiniVaishnaw)

By: Shubham Ghosh

Indian railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, who reached the site of a triple-train accident in Bahanaga Bazar area in Balasore in the eastern state of Odisha on Friday (2) night, hours after the tragedy in which more than 270 people died, was seen praying on the sidelines on Sunday (4) as the first train moved on the restored train tracks that were badly damaged in the accident.

A video showed the west-educated minister folding his hands in prayer as a goods train loaded with coal moved. He was accompanied by other officials and the minister was also found telling them something apparently to encourage them.

“Down-line restoration complete. First train movement in section,” Vaishnaw, who is a parliamentarian from Odisha, himself tweeted the video.

He also posted another tweet saying the movement of train on the ‘up’ route had also started

The railway minister, who took over in July 2021, said, “Everyone has done a great job. I feel great sadness for the affected families but we will get to the root cause of the incident and whoever is responsible will be severely punished.”

Passenger trains were also gradually operating on the restored tracks, including the semi-high speed Vande Bharat Express, plying between Howrah in West Bengal and Puri in Odisha.

The deadly crash that took place around 7.30 pm local time on Friday saw one speeding passenger train ramming into some derailed coaches of another which had hit a stationary goods train. The tragedy saw deaths of 275 people while more than 1,100 were injured.

Vaishnaw, who also met injured at hospitals along with India’s education minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who hails from Odisha, and accompanied prime minister Narendra Modi when he visited the site to review the situation on Saturday (3).

The railway minister on Sunday said the “root cause” of the accident and the people responsible for it have been identified. The Indian Railways has also sought an investigation by the elite Central Bureau of Investigation as the opposition targeted the government over railway safety and demanded Vaishnaw’s resignation.

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