Over 60 dead, at least 72 injured in Amritsar train accident, Punjab declares mourning

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Oct 20, 2018, 07.36 AM(IST) Oct 20, 2018, 02.19 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( ANI )

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According to reports, people were burning Dussehra effigy near the railway track in Choura Bazar area in Amritsar when a train ran into the crowd.

Over 60 people have been dead and at least 70 were left injured on Friday when a speeding train mowed them down while they were celebrating Dussehra.

According to reports, people were burning Dussehra effigy near the railway track in Choura Bazar area in Amritsar when a train ran into the crowd.

Punjab govt has declared state mourning on Saturday. All offices and educational institutions will remain closed in view of the tragedy. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has ordered a probe into the train disaster.

According to CPRO, Northern Railways, "Ravan effigy was being burnt 70-80 m from the gate, when the effigy fell, people present there ran towards the railway track, at the time a train was passing and level crossing there was shut. As per initial info 30-35 people injured."

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However, two trains arrived from the opposite direction at the same time giving little opportunity to people to escape. 

The victims reportedly could not hear the hooting of the train due to the exploding crackers. Witnesses said the dead included children. There were around 300 people at the accident spot, news agency PTI said. 

"There are not enough words to mourn the Amritsar train tragedy that claims so many innocent lives. My deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones. The incident needs to be probed as it casts serious question on administration," Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal told ANI.

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"Shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic train incident that occurred in Amritsar. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. I pray for the injured to recover quickly. Railways are conducting immediate relief and rescue operations," Goyal tweeted from the US where he had gone to attend an event.

While Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced Rs. 5 lakh for kin of each dead and free treatment for the injured as well as Rs 50,000 for the injured. Officials said there was no decision as yet on any compensation from the railways.

Opposition parties blamed the Congress-led state government for allowing Dussehra celebrations near the tracks. 

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