At least 50 are feared killed after a train ran into dozens of people standing on a railway track in Amritsar, watching the burning of Ravan’s effigy this evening.
The people who were hit reportedly could not hear the train – travelling from Jalandhar to Amritsar – due to the exploding crackers. Reports suggest the Ravana effigy was erected very close to the railway tracks at Joda Phatak in Amritsar.
“There are more than 50 casualties. We are evacuating people, injured taken to the hospital”, said SS Shrivastava, Commissioner of Police, Amritsar.
Witnesses said the dead included children. There were reportedly around 700 people at the accident spot, according to news agency IANS.
An eyewitness said no alarm was raised when the train was approaching and blamed the administration. “The administration and the Dussehra committee are at fault… they should have made sure that the train halts or slows down,” the eyewitness told ANI.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has said he is rushing to Amritsar to personally supervise relief and rescue efforts. He has asked all government and private hospitals to stay open. “My government will give Rs. 5 lakh to kin of each deceased and free treatment to injured in government and private hospitals. District authorities have been mobilised on war footing,” he tweeted.
Leader of opposition Punjab Harpal Singh Cheema tweeted, “My heart goes out to the bereaved family members who lost their loved once in Amritsar train accident. At this unfortunate event we stand with the family and pray for the departed soul.”