World

AMRITSAR – More than 60 people have been killed on October 19 evening after a crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching the burning of Ravana effigy was run over by a train near Amritsar.

The train was coming from Jalandhar to Amritsar when the incident occurred at Joda Phatak. At least 300 people were at the spot watching ‘Ravan Dahan’ at a ground near the tracks.

Sub Divisional Magistrate Amritsar I Rajesh Sharma said 50 bodies have been found and at least 50 injured have been admitted to a government hospital.

As the effigy was lit and the fireworks went off, a section of the crowd started retreating towards the tracks where a large number of people were already standing to watch the event, officials said.

However, two trains arrived from the opposite direction at the same time giving little opportunity to people to escape, they said.

Several people were mowed down by one of the trains, they said.

An eyewitness at Amritsar accident site said, “Congress had organised Dussehra celebrations here without permission. Navjot Singh Sidhu’s wife was the chief guest at the celebrations and she continued to give a speech as people were struck down by the train.”

“Exact figure is not known but it is definitely more than 50-60. We are still evacuating people.” Amritsar Police Commissioner SS Srivastava said on Amritsar train accident.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the incident and said he had asked officials to provide immediate assistance.

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh expressed shock at the incident and directed district authorities have been directed to take up relief and rescue operations on a war footing, ANI tweeted. Singh announced Rs 5 lakh aid to kin of each deceased and free treatment to the injured. The CM said he was rushing to Amritsar to supervise relief operations.