Amritsar, October 19
As many as 58 persons (61 according to PTI) were killed and over 40 injured on Friday evening after a crowd of Dasehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching burning of the Ravana effigy was run over by the 74643 Jalandhar-Amritsar Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) near Joda Phatak area.
At least 300 persons were watching ‘Ravana dahan’ at a ground near the tracks and 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.
Eyewitnesses said two trains arrived from the opposite direction at the same time (the Howrah Mail from Amritsar on the other track), giving little opportunity to people to escape.
Several people were mowed down by one of the trains, they said.
Wails and cries of people filled the air as friends and relatives frantically looked for their near and dear ones. Severed bodies, including of many children, were still lying on the accident site hours after the incident with angry people not allowing authorities to remove them.
It was a heart-rending sight as the dismembered body parts laid strewn on the blood-soaked ground. Many bodies could not be identified.
There was shock and disbelief as panic-stricken people recounted the horror. “I have lost my minor child. I want him back,” an inconsolable mother could be heard.
“Several times we have been requesting the authorities and leaders to take up the issue with railway authorities to slow down the trains near this phatak during Dasehra, but no one has listened,” a local said. Another said people could not hear the sound of the train. — TNS
Rail services suspended
New Delhi: All services on the Jalandhar-Amritsar route remained suspended three hours after the tragedy. A railway official said while some trains are being diverted, many are stationed near Jalandhar. Railway officials termed the dead as “trespassers” and said they were unlikely to get any compensation from the national transporter as they were not passengers. PTI
State mourning today
- All offices, educational institutions in Punjab to remain closed on Saturday
- Railways helpline numbers — 0183-2223171, 0183-2564485
- PM announces Rs 2 lakh for family of dead, Rs 50,000 for the injured
- MoS, Railways, Manoj Sinha, reached the spot late at night. The train driver, whose identity is withheld, is being questioned
Permission ‘not sought’
Was permission sought and granted to burn Dasehra effigies near the railway tracks? Soon after the tragedy, the MC Commissioner said it wasn’t. The CM said the administration will look into why the effigy was erected next to rail tracks, but MLA Navjot Kaur Sidhu said Dasehra celebrations took place at the spot every year. Railways should have ensured trains slow down, she added. TNS
Rushing to Amritsar to personally supervise relief & rescue in tragic rail accident on Dussehra in Amritsar. My govt will give Rs 5 lakh to kin of each deceased & free treatment to injured in govt & pvt hospitals. District authorities have been mobilised on war footing.— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) October 19, 2018
I spoke to Home Secretary of Punjab and DGP of the state regarding the train accident in Amritsar. They are rushing to the spot. Centre is ready to provide all possible assistance to the state at this hour of grief.— राजनाथ सिंह (@rajnathsingh) October 19, 2018
More farmers under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh...
Say it is a strategy to confine them there; say they can sit...
The eatery has earned accolades for coming to the support of...
Farmers stepped forward to extend a helping hand to others, ...
Bharat Bhalke (60), a three-term MLA from Pandharpur-Mangalv...