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-
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) October 19, 2018
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.
#Amritsar: Dalbir Singh (pic 1), who played the role of Ravan in a Ramlila in the city during Dussehra celebrations, died in #AmritsarTrainAccident, yesterday. His mother (pic 3) says, “I appeal to the govt to provide a job to my daughter-in law. She also has a 8-month old baby.” pic.twitter.com/MFDHVhwf4G
— ANI (@ANI) October 20, 2018
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.
— ANI (@ANI) October 20, 2018
There was an outpouring of grief from across the country with the Dussehra mood turning sombre as India realised the scale of the tragedy.
Horrified and deeply saddened by the tragic train accident in #Amritsar. My heart goes out to the people who lost their friends and family members. May God give them the strength and courage to deal with this horrific tragedy. Sympathies and prayers.🙏
— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPKher) October 19, 2018
Deeply saddened by the unfortunate train incident that occurred in #Amritsar. It’s unfortunate what the people went through. My heart goes out to the families and friends who lost their loved ones.
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) October 19, 2018
Pained to hear about the Amritsar train tragedy. Deepest condolences to the bereaved families.
— Ajay Devgn (@ajaydevgn) October 19, 2018
The #AmritsarTrainAccident is heartbreaking! Terrible terrible thing to have happened..This is just another example our extremely poor attitude towards caution and safety.. Prayers for all those suffering 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏
— Alia Bhatt (@aliaa08) October 20, 2018
Extremely anguished by the tragic train accident in #Amritsar. Condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones and prayers for speedy recovery of those injured.
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) October 19, 2018
— Riteish Deshmukh (@Riteishd) October 19, 2018
Absolutely horrific tragedy. Heart goes to the kin of those that dies and injured. let’s not politicise this tragic event that has left more than 60 dead and huge numbers seriously injured .. obviously there will be an inquiry later #AmritsarTrainMishap #AmritsarTrainAccident
— Shekhar Kapur (@shekharkapur) October 19, 2018
A tragic incident that could have been avoided if only. Sending my thoughts and prayers to the families of the deceased and wishing a speedy recovery for the ones injured. #Amritsar
— Anil Kapoor (@AnilKapoor) October 19, 2018
Saddened to hear about the loss of life in #Amritsar. Safety in public spaces HAS TO be taken a lot more seriously. Deepest condolences to all families affected by this tragedy.
— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) October 19, 2018
Just heard about the Heart-wrenching news of the terrible train accident in Amtitsar. My prayers for the families affected.
Those who wish to donate blood should arrive at the Civil Hospital and Guru Nanak Hospital in Amritsar.
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) October 19, 2018
Deeply saddened by the tragic #AmritsarTrainAccident. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims.
— MANOJ TIWARY (@tiwarymanoj) October 19, 2018
Extremely saddened by the train accident in Amritsar. The tragedy is heart-wrenching. 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.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 19, 2018
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.