Amritsar: At least 52 people were killed and 72 injured on Friday evening after a crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching burning of Ravana effigy was run over by a train near here, officials said.
“I have lost my minor child. I want him back,” an inconsolable mother could be heard. “Several times we have been requesting the authorities and local leaders telling them to take up the issue with railway authorities to slow down the trains near this Phatak during Dussehra, but no one has listened,” a local said.
The train driver didn't sound the horn,” alleged one of the witnesses. Another said people could not hear the sound of the approaching train due to bursting of fire-crackers. The incident sent shock waves across the country. Chief minister Amarinder Singh announced free treatment to all injured in the accident.
MoS for railways Manoj Sinha, railway board chairman Ashwani Lohani and Northern Railway general manager Vishwesh Chaube are rushing to the spot while railway minister Piyush Goyal said immediate relief and rescue operations are being conducted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday condoled the loss of lives in tragic Amritsar train accident and directed officials to provide immediate assistance. “Extremely saddened by the train accident in Amritsar. The tragedy is heart-wrenching,” Mr Modi tweeted.
“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,” he said.
President Ram Nath Kovind also tweeted to pay his condolences to the bereaved families. “Shocked to hear about the tragedy on rail tracks in Amritsar, Punjab. Understand Indian Railways and authorities are taking steps to help affected people,” he said.
Railways minister Piyush Goyal said he was shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic train incident. The Union minister is in the US to attend an event.
Amarinder Singh said he was rushing to Amritsar to personally supervise the relief and rescue operations.
He ordered an inquiry into the train accident. “The state will remain in mourning tomorrow in view of #Amritsar train mishap. All offices & educational institutions will remain closed,” the Chief Minister tweeted....