At least 50 people were killed in Punjab’s Amritsar on Friday after a train ran over the crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching the burning of Ravana effigy.
The accident took place at Joda Phatak near Choura Bazar in Amritsar when the train (DMU- 74943) ran into a burning effigy of Ravana.
“There are more than 50 casualties. We are evacuating people. Injured people have been taken to the hospital,” said Punjab police.
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.
Reports said that the effigy was being burnt near the railway track when the accident took place.
The injured have been rushed to nearby hospital for further treatment.
An eyewitness told that a train travelling at a fast speed ran over several people during Dussehra celebrations.
“Rushing to Amritsar to personally supervise relief and 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 and private hospitals. District authorities have been mobilised on war footing,” Amarinder tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences to the families of the victim. “Extremely saddened by the train accident in Amritsar. The tragedy is heart-wrenching. My deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones and I pray that the injured recover quickly,” he said in a tweet.
Modi also said that he has asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that he is pained beyond words at the loss of precious lives due to a train tragedy during Dussehra festivities in Punjab. “My thoughts are with the families of the deceased and prayers with the injured,” he tweeted.