Speeding train kills 60 worshippers at Hindu festival of Dussehra


But Ms Kaur said effigies were burnt at six places in Amritsar and a lot of them were in fields near the tracks.

On Friday, 19 October, a crowd of over 4,000 people gathered at Amritsar to watch a massive fireworks display.

Amritsar City DCP Amrik Singh Powar confirmed that Madaan, the son of the Congress municipal corporator of the ward where the incident took place, had sought police permission to organise it.

"Extremely saddened by the train accident in Amritsar".

The railways, on the other hand, have simply pointed to the law and said that the people who died are "trespassers". Sub-divisional magistrate Rajesh Sharma, however, said 61 people lost their lives.

The protesters raised slogans against the district administration and vent their ire against the railways for not slowing down the train.

Another witness said the victims didn't realize that a train was coming because the fireworks were too loud.

The Government Railway Police on Saturday registered a case against unknown persons in connection with the accident.

A witness said the train did not even sound its whistle as it sped past the site. Dussehra celebrations were not held at this spot past year. Video clips posted on the social media showed some people who had apparently seen the approaching train tried to run away. He has asked all government and private hospitals to stay open. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for the deceased and free treatment for the injured.

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In Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been tweeting photos of the joyful celebration, which is also known as Vijayadashami. "Railways is conducting immediate relief and rescue operations".

The minister, who is now in the U.S., has cancelled all his engagements there and is immediately returning to India.

A Northern Railways official said the effigy was being burnt less than 100 metres from the railway tracks.

He said an inquiry would also help to find out "if the Railways, like each year, had issued special warnings to the crowd and reduced train speed to a minimum crawl".

The Dusherra festival revelers were crushed to death by a moving train while watching the burning of a Ravana effigy here. "Nobody was given the permission for organising the Dussehra event".

Sinha was responding to a query over the incident at Joda Phatak when the passenger train heading to Hoshiarpur from Amritsar came hurtling down.

Police said locals are sitting on railway tracks and refusing to leave. Chairman of the Railway Board Ashwani Lohani said in a statement that the accident occurred at a midsection between the Amritsar and Manawala stations and not at a level crossing.

An officer in the police control room said it was hard to confirm the toll as there were dismembered body parts all over.

The event was not organised for the first time.