Train kills at least 60 people watching fireworks in India during festival

Aaron Brown
October 22, 2018

Witnesses told media outlets that as crowds spilled onto the train tracks, the booming of fireworks and the general celebratory din may have masked the sound of the oncoming train.

Vivek Kumar, the Divisional Railway Manager, Ferozpur, said the driver has been questioned but no lapse could be found at his end. "Our function had nothing to do with the railways". "They should have made sure that the train halts or slow down", he said.

"The event took place at a place adjoining the railway land in private property", he said. At least 300 people were at the spot watching 'Ravana dahan' at a ground near the tracks. "It is a clear case of trespassing and the local administration should take responsibility", a railway official said.

"If they have to cross they should do so very slowly". Locals claimed permission was denied to the organisers previous year. I could not understand how this happened. "Moreover, nobody had applied for the permission with the Amritsar Municipal Corporation", said Amritsar Municipal Corporation Commissioner Sonali Giri.

Spectators were watching the effigy burn, and a fireworks display, when many started moving towards the railway tracks a short distance away. "We are announcing a magisterial probe into the incident", Singh said.

"Two trains crossed within a minute of one another. Navjot Singh Sidhu's wife was the chief guest at the celebrations and she continued to give a speech as people were struck down by the train". In the written statement, the driver of DMU said that he had applied emergency brakes and the train was almost nearing a halt.

The blockade had forced the railways to cancel 27 trains since Saturday. "There was no alarm heard either that the crossing ahead had closed down", he said.

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The event was organised by Mithu Madan's family.

No action has so far been initiated against the organisers, who are leaders of the ruling Congress in Punjab, of the Dusshera event.

"Almost 4,000-5,000 persons attended the function".

"I removed the bodies from the tracks... my hands were full of blood". "There is no way he could have stopped the train", Singh said.

A local branch of the India National Congress Party had organized the event at a clearing near the railway tracks on the outskirts of Amritsar. The Amritsar railway station is about 3-4 km from the spot.

"We hope that the normalcy will be restored in the area by Sunday evening as the number of protestors has come down since Saturday", a senior police officer said according to PTI.

The area beyond the railway tracks is heavily populated, where labour and lower-middle class families live in the Mohkampura and Rasulpura colonies.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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