Amritsar train accident: Locals continue protest, demand action against driver

The big news 61 dead as train mows down Dussehra crowd near Amritsar and nine other top stories

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The people who were hit could not see or hear the train due to the exploding crackers. The locals had started protesting Saturday, raising slogans against the state government and demanding action against the train's driver, a day after the accident here.

Punjab's Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he was rushing to Amritsar to supervise relief and rescue operations. The railway crossing gates were closed and the crossing was manned.

The Madan family members were the main organisers of the Dussehra event where the train accident took place.

One official said the local response was on par with a "war footing" as emergency workers tended to the dead and injured.

In just 10-15 seconds it left behind a heap of crushed and dismembered bodies.

At least 50 injured people were admitted to hospital.

The crowd had spilled onto the tracks and the sound of firecrackers drowned out the horn of the approaching train.

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He said the injured were being transported to the hospital, adding, "The government is going to bear the full cost of this". Police said it was "freak accident" as people did not hear the train approaching amid the din of festivities and fireworks.

Following the accident, people rushed to the site, almost 465 kilometers (290 miles) north of New Delhi, and shouted at railway officials for not taking precautions. He said the railways was not at fault.

The Amritsar Municipal Corporation stated that permission had not been granted to burn the Ravana effigy at the Dhobi ghat, as reported by PTI. Dussehra celebrations were not held at this spot a year ago.

Later, issuing a notification of the magisterial inquiry, Punjab Home Department said in a statement that the inquiry will look into all aspects of the unfortunate incident. The report will be submitted within four weeks. He has asked all government and private hospitals to stay open.

The local government has announced a relief of around 6,807 US dollars to family of each deceased and announced free medical treatment to the injured in hospitals.

In Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been tweeting photos of the joyful celebration, which is also known as Vijayadashami.

"The Commission conducts statutory investigation into railway accidents". Mr Goyal, who is in the USA, also said he is returning to India.

Officials said the exact death toll remains unclear.

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At least 59 people were killed and almost 60 others injured when the speeding train mowed the people watching Dusshera proceedings while standing on the live railway tracks.

The accident occurred mainly owing some glaring mistakes committed.

Eyewitnesses said the joda fatak (double gate) where the effigy was being burnt is 300 feet from the gates and the crowd was visible. There was no chance of us reacting, leave alone pelt stones.

The event was organised by Mithu Madan's family.

The Railways, while ruling out an inquiry into the mishap, has said it was not informed by the organisers or the local administration that a Dussehra event was being organised close to railway tracks.

Friday's accident was the worst in years but Manoj Sinha, the junior minister in charge of running the world's fourth largest rail system, said they couldn't be held responsible for people gathered on tracks.

"It is not the first time that Dasara at this location is being celebrated in this manner". The railways also diverted other trains to Tarn Taran and Beas while others were terminated at Jalandhar, said unidentified railway officials. Priority is to get the injured treated.

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