Angry mob pelts stones at police at site of Indian rail accident

Amritsar train tragedy

Amritsar: Most people who were mowed down by a speeding train in Amritsar during Dussehra celebrations Friday evening were migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, an official said here Saturday. The protesters also demanded against authorities for allowing the Dussehra celebrations near the rail tracks. The minister said drivers are given specific instructions on where to slow down the train.

A crowd watching the burning of a Ravan effigy spilled on to the railway tracks and was hit by a train coming from Jalandhar to Amritsar.

Was permission granted for the event?

Relatives mourn at the site of a train accident at Joda Phatak in Amritsar, Friday, October 19, 2018.

The Government Railway Police (GRP) registered an FIR against "unknown persons" and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced a magisterial inquiry, which will submit its report within four weeks.

When asked why the driver didn't halt despite seeing people, the official said smoke affected his vision. Nearly 300 people had gathered to watch ravana-dahan at a ground adjacent to the railway 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.

Following the tragic accident, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal who was in the USA, cancelled all his engagements and was set to return.

Some people also hurled stones at the house of Saurabh Madan Mithu, son of Congress councillor Vijay Madan, whose family had organised the event.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also condoled the accident in which 39 of the total 61 people killed have been identified so far.

However, junior railways minisfter Manoj Sinha said after visiting the accident site that organisers did not alert railway authorities about their plan to hold the event there.

He also defended his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who was accused of leaving the accident site without bothering about the victims.

Although Dussehra celebrations were not held on this plot last year, it has been used to celebrate Dussehra for nearly 10 years, said Jeet Singh Bhatia, a corporator whose ward is located next to the ground.

Amrit Singh, the director of the railway station at Amritsar, said a commuter train travelling at 90 km/h would travel for 700m after the brakes are applied before stopping.

According to media reports, the driver told police he did not see the revellers until the last second because he had come around a bend in the dark into the firework smoke.

"Rushing to Amritsar to personally supervise relief and rescue in tragic rail accident on Dussehra in Amritsar".

Grieving relatives and residents, some of whom were still scouring the bloodied fields for belongings of their loved ones, said there was no warning from the train as it rolled down the tracks just as firecrackers exploded in the sky during the annual Dusshera festival. Earlier this month, I was honoured to visit the Golden Temple and witnessed the warmth and generosity of the people. "I ask to convey my words of sympathy and support to families and friends of killed people and to wish soonest recovery to those injured", he was quoted as saying by ANI.

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