At least 50 feared dead as train runs over revellers

Blanche Robertson
October 19, 2018

According to reports, the accident has taken place at Joda Phatak in Amritsar.

In a horrific incident, several people glued to watching a burning Ravan effigy while standing on railway tracks were crushed by a speeding train in Punjab.

Subdivisional magistrate Rajesh Sharma said death toll had mounted to 50, according to PTI.

The train reportedly did not stop following the accident, which also saw a number of people taken to hospital.

Witnesses said that as fire was set to the Ravan effigy amid exploding crackers, numerous around 700 people gathered at the event moved back from the flames only to end up standing on the tracks. The train was on full speed near the Choura Bazar area of Amritsar and ran over the people who were standing on the line.

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Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu reacted to reports that his wife was the chief guest at the event. Revenue Minister Sukhbinder Sarkaria deputed to immediately reach Amritsar to oversee rescue operations.

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased in the Amritsar train accident on Friday and said he was rushing to the spot to personally supervise rescue and relief operations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the incident and said he had asked officials to provide immediate assistance. "Extremely saddened by the train accident in Amritsar", he said on Twitter. "My deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones and I pray that the injured recover quickly".

Another five were killed in December when they were hit by a train in the same state, with 60 thought to having died on the tracks in the whole of 2017 - and 110 the year before that.

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