Amritsar: In a terrible disaster, at least 50 people watching the burning of Ravana effigy During Dussehra festival were mowed down by speeding train here in Punjab on Friday, police said.
Sub Divisional Magistrate Amritsar I Rajesh Sharma said 50 bodies have been found and at least 50 injured have been admitted to a government hospital.
#WATCH Amritsar accident: Police Commissioner SS Srivastava says, “Exact death toll is not known but it is definitely more than 50-60. We are still evacuating people.” pic.twitter.com/5l9Gjw90VB— ANI (@ANI) October 19, 2018
A large number of people were watching the Ravana effigy in flames while standing along the railway tracks near Dhobi Ghat when the train crushed them.
— ANI (@ANI) October 19, 2018
They reportedly could not hear the hooting of the train due to the exploding crackers.
A witness told a news channel that as the Ravana effigy went up in flames, people started running when they were crushed by the train on the way to Amritsar from Pathankot.
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.
#Punjab: Police says, “There are more than 50 casualties. We are evacuating people, injured taken to the hospital”, on accident in which several are feared dead in Choura Bazar near Amritsar pic.twitter.com/ITMeckyIN4— ANI (@ANI) October 19, 2018
Witnesses said the dead included children. There were reportedly around 700 people at the accident spot.
Area legislator and Local Bodies Minister Navjot Sidhu told a news channel on telephone from Bengaluru that the death toll was alarmingly high.
His wife Navjot Kaur Singh was the Chief Guest at the Dussehra where the incident occurred at around 7 pm.
(With inputs from agencies)