Amritsar: At least 58 people were killed on Friday after a train plowed into revellers gathered to watch burning of Ravana effigy in Amritsar, police said.
The train hit a crowd standing on the railway line to watch a fireworks show during Dasara celebrations, police and eyewitnesses said.
“There was a lot of noise as firecrackers were being let off and it appears they were unable to hear the approaching train,” a police official at the scene told AFP.
An eyewitness told a local TV channel there was “utter commotion” when the crowds noticed the train “coming very fast” towards them. “Everyone was running helter-skelter and suddenly another train crashed into the crowds of people,” he said.
Sub divisional magistrate Amritsar I Rajesh Sharma said 58 people have died and at least 72 injured have been admitted to Amritsar hospital.
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. Wails and cries of people filled the air as friends and relatives frantically looked for their near and dear ones. Severed bodies, including of many children, were still lying on the accident site hours after the incident with angry people not allowing authorities to remove them.
It was heart rending sight as the dismembered body parts laid strewn on the blood-soaked ground. Many bodies could not be identified.
People shouted slogans against local MLA Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who was present as chief guest during the event. She later said she rushed to the hospital immediately after the incident....