At least 50 killed after train ploughs into crowd in India

22 October, 2018, 02:09 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Relatives mourn at the site of a train accident in Amritsar. Officials said at least 60 bodies have been found and many more injured have been admitted to a government hospital

The Punjab government headed by Amarinder Singh on Saturday ordered a magisterial probe into the train tragedy.

The chief minister postponed a trip to Israel and arrived in Amritsar this morning to assess the damage. We don't have any confirmation on the numbers who have been impacted by the incident.

At least 61 people were killed and 72 injured Friday evening after a crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilt onto railway tracks while watching burning of Ravana effigy was run over by a train near Amritsar, officials said. "After completing my work in Jalandhar I boarded this train to Amritsar".

Local authorities did not inform the railways about the event, he said, adding that it is the district administration that gives permissions for organising such events.

Manoj Sinha, federal junior minister for Indian Railways, ruled out any punitive action against his staff, including the driver.

India´s huge railway network is notorious for accidents.

Dussehra celebration was organized by Saurabh Madan, son of municipal councilor Vijay Madan and Navjot Kaur Sidhu was the chief guest at the event.


Sinha said the venue was almost 70 metres from the accident spot which was not the Railways'.

"The incident was not a railways' fault".

Meanwhile, opposition parties in Punjab, including BJP, AAP and SAD have called for stringent against those responsible for the event and dismissal of Sidhu from the state government. He left early for the event on Friday, said Singh's mother, as he wanted to help his two friends playing role of Ram and Lakshman get ready. "An inquiry should be done by an independent agency", he said.

The Shiromani Akali Dal core committee on Sunday demanded immediate sacking of Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and registration of a murder case against his wife and former legislator Navjot Kaur Sidhu as well as organizers of Dussehra function on Friday.

A Southern Railway official also recalled the accident and told IANS that the Amritsar accident was identical to the one that had happened in Thalaserry.

The protesters were demanding action against organisers of the Dusshera function near Joda Phatak for which hundreds of people had gathered to see the burning of the Ravan effigy.

The festival organisers had that year forgotten to inform the railway authorities about the Sri Jagannatha Temple festivities and the accompanying fireworks. Video clips posted on the social media showed some people who had apparently seen the approaching train tried to run away. Why the matter is being covered up. "We will launch an agitation if the investigation not carried out properly", Majithia said. At least 300 people were watching the "Ravana dahan" at a ground adjacent to railway tracks when the train struck.

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