Train mows down crowd at India festival, at least 60 dead

Lester Mason
October 21, 2018

Many on the tracks had been busy filming the festivities on their phones at the time so did not hear or see the train approaching at high speed, they stated.

He also set a four-week deadline for completion of inquiry into the tragic train acciden, while urging all political parties to rise above petty politicking to join hands to mitigate the sufferings of the victims and their families. One official said the local response was on par with a "war footing" as emergency workers tended to the dead and injured. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has also directed Amritsar District Commissoner and Commissioner of Police to make a detailed socio-economic profile of each victim of the accident. In 2016, 146 people were killed when a train slid off railroad tracks in eastern India.

Local government officials said the festival takes place every year on the outskirts of Amritsar and that railroad authorities are alerted to run the trains at slow speeds.

A crowd of people had gathered on the tracks to watch a fireworks display during the Hindu festival of Dussehra. "She is repeatedly being told, according to new video evidence, that there are people on the tracks and even if the trains arrive, nothing will happen to them", senior BJP leader Rajinder Mohan Singh Chinna said in a statement.

The minister said that had the organisers sought prior permission, the Railways would have made necessary arrangements. "I called the commissioner and I asked him whether I should come back, he said no there's too much chaos here", she told ANI from the hospital where the injured are being treated. Sujit Singh, one of protesters, said.

Asked if there were any lapses on the part of the railways, the Chief Minister said the probe would look into the matter.

On Sunday, relatives and locals gathered at the accident site and began throwing stones at police, saying there was no help coming for the grief-stricken families.

Railway board chairman Ashwani Lohani said the railways had not been informed about the event and stressed that the tragedy did not occur at a level crossing. The organisers were granted permission on October 17, 2108.

Following the accident, people rushed to the site and shouted at railway officials.

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.

The state chief minister has ordered an inquiry to ascertain whether permission was granted - and by whom.

He alleged that Sidhu's wife Navjot Kaur was exclusively answerable for the accident as she was the chief guest at the Dussehra function and responsible for holding such a big event sans security and safety measures.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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