In a shocking and terrible disaster, at least 61 people were crushed by a train at Amritsar in Punjab on Friday while they were watching the burning of Ravan effigy on the occasion of Dussehra. The Amritsar train accident took place near Joda Phatak area of Choura Bazar. The train was en route from Jalandhar to Amritsar.
The incident took place when a large number of people were watching the Ravan effigy going up in flames while standing along the railway tracks. As the fireworks went off, some people, in order to avoid high flames, started retreating towards the tracks where a huge crowd was already standing to watch the event. However, two trains arrived from the opposite direction at the same time, giving little chance to people to escape.
A preliminary report suggested that people could not hear the hooting of the train because of the exploding crackers. Several people were mowed down by one of the trains, the officials said.
Commenting on the incident, area legislator and Local Bodies Minister Navjot Sidhu told a news channel from Bengaluru that the death toll was disturbingly high. His wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu was the Chief Guest at the Dussehra event where the incident took place at around 7 pm
Sources claim that prima facie, it seems to be an error on the part of the local administration. A Railway official said the gathering of people near accident site is a clear case of trespassing. He added that Railways was not kept in the loop about Dussehra celebrations near Amritsar accident site and no permission was given by them for it.