Amritsar Train Tragedy: Avoid Mudslinging, Sidhu Urges Political Parties

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

Badnore arrived early on Saturday and met the injured at the Guru Nanak Dev government hospital here.

The people were watching the proceedings from the live railway tracks when the Jalandhar-Amritsar DMU (diesel multiple unit) train crushed them.

Dussehra is a Hindu festival marking the triumph of good over evil.

The accident took place in Choura Bazar near Jhoda Phatak area of Amritsar after a train ran over the crowd, standing along train tracks, to watch an effigy of Ravan being burnt.

Some reports suggest organisers told people to move away from the firecrackers, while other reports say participants ran towards the track because they were afraid the burning effigy would collapse.

The driver, Arvind Kumar, in a statement to the Railways administration said he had applied the emergency breaks, but since a large group of people started pelting stones on the train, he made a decision to proceed, The Indian Express reported on Sunday.

Punjab government ordered state mourning.

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.

"The driver was not at fault as the train was being driven on the Amritsar-Delhi railway line, which is supposed to accommodate trains running at 110 km per hr".

Angry residents blame the local government officials for the deaths.

"Around midnight there was to be a special fireworks called "karbam kalaki", which meant that the sound is such that pregnant women would suffer miscarriage", Rajan said. "No alarm was raised when the train was approaching". Another 50 people have been injured and are in hospital.

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 Prime Minister conveyed his deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones and prayed for the injured to recover quickly. "Have asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required", Modi said on Twitter.

Manoj Sinha, federal junior minister for Indian Railways, ruled out any punitive action against his staff, including the driver.

"Extremely saddened by the train accident in Amritsar".

Terming the "man-made disaster as unparalleled on account of the criminal negligence and sheer abetment by the function organizers", the core committee condemned the cover-up operation launched by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and demanded registration of a fresh case in the matter as per the statement of the victims' families.

"I am feeling a strong headache and pain in my back and legs", Das said from his hospital bed, adding his injuries were not serious.

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