Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Dozens Feared Dead As Train Plows Through Crowd Of Revelers In India

Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani further briefed that the two manned level-crossing on the track where the accident took place was closed Dozens Feared Dead As Train Plows Through Crowd Of Revelers In India
Deanna Wagner | 21 October, 2018, 21:29

Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday expressed deep grief over the tragic death of dozens of participants of a religious gathering along a train track in Amritsar, as a speedy train ran over them.

A leaked letter indicated that the organisers - the family of a local Congress councillor - had also sought security arrangements at the venue where Punjab minister Navjot Sidhu and his ex-MLA wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu were expected.

Police are investigating whether the organizers had a permit for the event and at what speed the train that ran over the crowd was traveling, said Amritsar's police commissioner, S.S. Srivastava.

Madaan said that the empty plot where he had organised the Dussehra event was used each year for the celebrations.

Taking stock of the situation, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh directed senior officials to rush to the accident spot.

Data from Parliament in July showed that 49,790 people died while on train tracks.

Punjab Police officials said that the DMU (diesel multiple unit) driver had been detained at the Ludhiana railway station and was being questioned regarding the incident that took place on Friday night at the Jora Phatak near Dhobi Ghat within Amritsar city.

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Amritsar: The man who played the character of demon king Ravana at the Ram Leela at Joda Phatak was among those killed in the train accident. The first goods train started from Manawala to Amritsar at 2.16 pm, said Northern Railways spokesperson Deepak Kumar. Singh said 57 others were injured and an official investigation would be carried out over the next four weeks.

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. A 5-6 feet boundary wall of the railway separates the tracks from the ground, railway officials said.

Numerous victims were dismembered beyond recognition and police said it would take several days to complete the identification of the dead.

According to eyewitnesses, at one point, some of the crowd moved on to some railway tracks a short distance away, with some reports citing organisers' safety concerns about the effigy.

He said that he had no information about the Dussehra event.

Asked why the Chief Minister reached Amritsar after 16 hours of the tragedy, he said, "I was supposed to go to Tel Aviv".

Slamming the Sidhus and the local administration, former revenue minister and Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia said that it was a failure of the local administration, the police in particular, which did not barricade the tracks and deploy adequate number of police personnel to stop people from entering the tracks.