Press Trust said two trains arrived from the opposite direction on separate tracks at the same time, giving people little chance to escape. Several people were mowed down by one of the trains, they added. CM to visit Amritsar tomorrow to access the situation.
The accident raises questions of negligence on behalf of the rail operator and the administration as to why the festival was held to so close to the rail line and why no barriers had been put up to stop people from getting onto the track. The train was en route to Amritsar from Jalandhar.
After the incident, in which 61 people died, leaders of the opposition and the state government started playing the blame game. Relief and rescue operation is on. My heart goes out to the family members of the victims.
A witness said the train didn't even sound its whistle as it sped past the site, where hundreds were watching the burning of an effigy of demon Ravana during the Hindu festival of Dussehra. So there are many casualties.
ANI, a domestic news agency, reported that the chief medical officer of the civil hospital in Amritsar said 60 people had been killed and at least 51 injured.
Outrage and sadness poured out as video clips surfaced of the gut wrenching moment when the train rams into the crowd - nearly at the exact moment when the Ravana effigy erupts into a huge ball of flame in the distance, just across the tracks.
"Very very sad to learn about the unfortunate rail incident in Amritsar during Dussehra festivities".
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Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has announced 5 lakh rupees assistance to the kin of each deceased and all possible help for the injured.
A crisis management center was in operation, and Singh described the mobilization of local authorities as on par with "war footing".
'My deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones and I pray that the injured recover quickly'.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was saddened by the accident.
"What a mindless & entirely avoidable tragedy!"
The tragedy took place at the Joda Fatak area of Amritsar, where crowds - some reports say 300, others 1,000 - had gathered to watch the fireworks. The authorities immediately sprang into action to take the necessary relief measures. "I didn't see the train coming".