At least 60 people were mowed down and killed and 74 injured last 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.
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. Seven of the 70-odd people injured in the train accident are in critical conditions, officials said today. The injured were admitted into different hospitals in Amritsar.
Some media reports suggested that many could not hear the sound of the train approaching due to the fire crackers’ noise.
Here is exactly how it happened-

CM Amarinder Singh ordered all the necessary administrative and police personnel to be mobilised on war footing to help the district administration tackle the tragic situation. He has also directed the chief secretary to deploy all the necessary administrative officials to ensure that the injured were immediately lifted to hospitals across Amritsar. All private hospitals have also been asked to stay open, along with government hospitals, to provide urgent free treatment and care to the injured.
Punjab Police officials said that the DMU (diesel multiple unit) driver was being questioned regarding the incident that took place on Friday night at the Jora Phatak near Dhobi Ghat within Amritsar city. Sources said that the driver claimed that he was given green signal and all clear and had no idea that hundreds of people were standing on the tracks when the train crossed the area.
No action has so far been initiated against the organisers, who are leaders of the ruling Congress in Punjab, of the Dusshera event. Police sources said that the organisers have gone underground.

Dalbir Singh, who played the role of Ravan in a Ramlila in the city during Dussehra celebrations, also died in the Train Accident, yesterday.

Following the accident, several trains have been cancelled, diverted or short-terminated. Giving details, the railways said, 10 express trains and 27 passenger trains were cancelled. “While 16 trains were diverted and reached their destination through a different route, 18 trains were short terminated”, Northern Railways spokesperson Deepak Kumar said. The route between Jalandhar and Amritsar was suspended, he said.

There are several relief and rehabilitation measures being taken, in Amritsar.

There was an outpouring of grief from across the country with the Dussehra mood turning sombre as India realised the scale of the tragedy.

Both the railways and the state government are likely to announce investigations into how the accident happened and fix responsibility for the negligence.
Meanwhile, the horrific tragedy is not expected to change anything in India’s attitude towards public safety. That’s the real tragedy.