Amritsar tragedy : Death toll rises to 61
61 people including women and children has died and Over 72 were injured in Amritsar after a train ran into a crowd watching festivities of a Hindu festival on the railway tracks on Friday, said Sub Divisional Magistrate Rajesh Sharma.
The train was coming from Jalandhar when the accident occurred at Joda Phatak near Amritsar, where at least 300 people were watching ‘Ravana dahan’ at a ground adjacent to the tracks.
The railway officials sought to put the onus on local administration saying the national transporter did not give any permission for such an event.
Opposition parties blamed the Congress-led Amarinder Singh government for allowing Dussehra celebrations near the tracks.
Raveen Thukral, media advisor to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, said initial reports suggest the accident occurred during a stampede as people rushed towards the tracks when crackers burst during the burning of the Ravana effigy. The reports indicate that train crashed through the crowd on the tracks at that time, he added.
As the effigy was lit and the fireworks went off, a section of the crowd started retreating towards the tracks where a large number of people were already standing to watch the event, officials said.
However, two trains arrived from the opposite direction at the same time giving little opportunity to people to escape, they said.
(Featured image:The Indian Express)