At least 59 killed as train hits crowd in northern India


The Punjab government has announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for the families of the accident victims. "I think if precaution had been taken, the accident could have been averted", Mr Sinha said, and added that drivers are given specific instructions on where to slow down the train.

The Punjab and Railway Police on Saturday questioned the driver of a train that crushed at least 60 people to death while they were watching the burning of a Ravana effigy from a railway track. Hindustan Times delivers the news across all social media platforms, on the web, and at your doorstep. "We gave permission for a certain event in a certain area, now obviously there is no permission to be on the tracks or anything".

The train that hit the crowds was travelling from Jalandhar to Amritsar.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarindar Singh has directed Home Secretary, Health Secretary and ADGP Law and Order to immediately rush to Amritsar. He says the train didn't stop after the accident. However, eyewitnesses complained about the arrangements for the safety of people at the ground along the tracks near Joda Phatak were not adequate.

With Navjot Singh Sidhu and other ministers accompanying him, the CM checked on the injured at Amandeep Hospital, Civil Hospital and Guru Nanak Dev Hospital.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the incident as "heart-wrenching".

"Why did authorities allow the fireworks display so close to the railroad track?'" he asked.

Amritsar City DCP Amrik Singh Powar confirmed that Madaan, the son of the Congress municipal corporator of the ward where the incident took place, had sought police permission to organise it.

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However, junior railways minisfter Manoj Sinha said after visiting the accident site that organisers did not alert railway authorities about their plan to hold the event there.

Although Dussehra celebrations were not held on this plot last year, it has been used to celebrate Dussehra for nearly 10 years, said Jeet Singh Bhatia, a corporator whose ward is located next to the ground.

He alleged that Sidhu's wife Navjot Kaur was exclusively answerable for the accident as she was the chief guest at the Dussehra function and responsible for holding such a big event sans security and safety measures.

Police are investigating whether the organizers had a permit for the event and at what speed the train that ran over the crowd was traveling, said Amritsar's police commissioner, S.S. Srivastava. The driver couldn't have seen it.

However, the Punjab police chased away some of the protestors a section of the railway track.

Locals gather near the site of accident at Jodh Phatak.

"Rushing to Amritsar to personally supervise relief and rescue in tragic rail accident on Dussehra in Amritsar. My deepest condolences to those who have lost family and loved ones", Guterres said in a tweet.

The Northern Railway CPRO said that due to some incident, people started running towards gate No. 27 between Amritsar and Manawala.