At least 60 people dead after train ploughs through crowd in India

At least 60 people dead after train ploughs through crowd in India

At least 60 people were killed and hundreds were injured when a train ran into a crowd watching fireworks at a festival in northern India last night.

"I've been seeing this event every Dusshera from here and this has never happened before, the railways should have stopped or slowed down the train", said Deep Kumari, who watched the festival from the terrace of her house. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi Women mourn the death of their relatives after a commuter train traveling at high speed ran through a crowd of people on the rail tracks on Friday, outside a hospital in Amritsar, India, October 20, 2018.

It got delayed as Chief Guest Navjot Kaur Sidhu, wife of MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu, arrived late.

The Chief Minister said he was rushing to the accident site to "personally supervise relief & rescue", while announcing a relief of Rs. 5 lakh to the kin of each deceased and free treatment for the injured at government as well as private hospitals. NDTV delivers reliable information across all platforms: TV, Internet and Mobile.

A large number of people live in the area with homes on both sides of the railway, she said.

It also said that neither the area administration nor the organisers informed it about any Dussehra ceremony at the spot.

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However, eyewitnesses said the driver despite the presence of the crowd neither sounded a siren nor reduced the speed of the train which was hurtling down at 100 kmph, sources said.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who is now in the US, said he will be immediately returning. "We are evacuating people, injured taken to the hospital", police official told ANI.

In his written statement to the Railways administration, Arvind Kumar, the driver of the local Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) train that crushed 59 people near Amritsar Friday evening has claimed that he did, in fact, apply the emergency brakes but continued with the journey as people "started attacking the train by throwing stones". "Everyone was running helter-skelter and suddenly the train crashed into the crowds of people", he said.

But almost every month there are accidents involving trains that derail or hit vehicles on crossings. The municipal corporation said that it had granted no permission for the function, the venue was big enough to hold only around 200 people, but more than 2,000 were present.

Police said it was "freak accident" as people did not hear the train approaching amid the din of festivities and fireworks.

One witness, who lost two brothers in the accident, said the train had failed even to whistle as it passed the festival... The casualties were caused by one of the trains, it quoted officials as saying. "There was no motive", he said, adding the incident was an irreparable loss.

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