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Horrific Train Accident Kills 61, Many Others Injured In Amritsar's Punjab [WATCH]

ANANYA BHATNAGAR | 1
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| October 20 , 2018 , 11:22 IST

At least 61 people were reported dead while many injured after a crowd of Dussehra revellers spilled onto the railway track was run over by the 74643 Jalandhar-Amritsar Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) train near Joda Phatak area in Punjab’s Amritsar on Friday.

According to media reports, Railway officials also said they were unlikely to compensate the family of the dead as they were not passengers. "Any information on the dead and injured has to come from the district magistrate, not us. We are cooperating with them at all levels," the senior official said.

"As per initial information, people present near the railway track couldn't hear the sound of the approaching train due bursting crackers," Sinha told reporters in Delhi before boarding an Indian Air Force plane for Amritsar.

Eyewitnesses said, "The administration and the Dussehra committee are at fault, they should have raised an alarm when the train was approaching, they should have made sure that the train halts or slows down."

Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh wrote in Twitter, “Rushing to Amritsar to personally supervise relief & rescue in tragic rail accident on Dussehra in Amritsar. My govt will give Rs 5 lakh to kin of each deceased & free treatment to injured in govt & pvt hospitals. District authorities have been mobilised on war footing.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Extremely saddened by the train accident in Amritsar. The tragedy is heart-wrenching. My deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones and I pray that the injured recover quickly. Have asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required.”

Railway Denies Responsibility

Northern Railways spokesperson Deepak Kumar said in a statement that the event was organised in an area which does not belong to the railways.

It also said that neither the area administration nor the organisers informed it about any Dusshera ceremony at the spot.

"Therefore granting permission from the Railway's does not arise," he added. No information about the event was given to the railway authorities by the civil administration."

He said at the time of the incident on Friday evening the gates of the manned level crossing were closed.

A senior Railway Ministry official, however, admitted that the loco-pilots of the Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) Jalandhar-Amritsar Passenger train did not apply emergency brakes.

"He informed the station master at Amritsar about the train hitting the crowd immediately after the accident," he said. He told the Amritsar official that the incident happened some 340 metres from an interlocked level crossing.

Sidhu Defends His Wife

Navjot Kaur Sidhu, wife of Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, was the chief guest at the event and said the accident occurred after she had left.

While Navjot Singh Sidhu defending his wife said, “It is an accident and should not be politicised. Few people were on the tracks and few were beside the track. The train came rushing and due to the sound of the firecrackers, they did not notice the train. There is negligence, but it was not intentional.”

While the eyewitness claimed that Congress had organised Dussehra celebrations here without permission. Navjot Singh Sidhu's wife was the chief guest at the celebrations and she continued to give a speech as people were struck down by the train