Amritsar: In a major tragedy, at least 61 people, including women and children, were killed and more than 50 injured after a train ran them over when they were gathered at a crossing to watch burning of Ravana's effigy at Jora Phatak near Amritsar on Friday evening.
Reports said that at Dussehra celebrations, around 500 people were standing near the railway tracks to watch a Ravan effigy being burnt and could not hear the sound of the train due to burning of firecrackers.The train was on its way from Jalandhar to Amritsar when the tragedy took place at Jora Phatak.
Amritsar Sub Division Magistrate I Rajesh Sharma confirmed that 50 bodies have been recovered and over 50 injured have been admitted to a government hospital.According to Amritsar Police Commissioner SS Srivastava, at least fifty people have died in this tragedy. "We are still assessing the number of casualties," he added.
The crowd started retreating towards the tracks when the effigy was lit and the fireworks went off, official sources said adding that a large number of people were already standing there to watch the event.
However, two trains arrived from the opposite direction at the same time giving little time to people to escape. Many people were mowed down by one of the trains, sources said.
Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, wife of Punjab Local Government Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, was the chief guest at the Dussehra function. After the tragedy, she left the venue in her car.
The mob attacked Education Minister OP Soni when he reached the spot. Police rescued the minister.Meanwhile, the Punjab Government has announced Rs 5 lakh for the families of each person killed in the accident and free treatment for the injured.
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has directed Home Secretary, Health Secretary and ADGP (law and order) to immediately rush to Amritsar. The Chief Minister would fly to Amritsar on Saturday to assess the situation.(UNI)