In a major train mishap on the Dussehra day, a train ran into large crowds who were watching Ravana Dehan in Choura Bazar near Amritsar of Punjab.
"Out of nowhere came the train", said a man, sounding angry. There were reportedly around 700 people at the accident spot. A state government official has said that at least 50 were killed and more than 50 were injured. "The priority now is to take the injured to the hospital", Amritsar city police commissioner S. S. Srivastava told news agencies. However, two trains arrived from the opposite direction at the same time giving little opportunity to people to escape, they said. The number of dead and injured is still not clear but different sources quoted different casualty figures ranging between 30 and 60 dead. "We are still evacuating people". "Extremely saddened by the train accident in Amritsar", he said on Twitter.
"Pained beyond words at the loss of precious lives due to a train tragedy during Dussehra festivities in Punjab. District authorities have been mobilised on war footing", CM Singh tweeted.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia to the kin of the deceased.
Officials fear that the toll may go up. He also alleged that Navjot Singh Sidhu's wife fled from the scene instead of helping people.
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"Shocked to hear about the tragedy on rail tracks in Amritsar, Punjab".
In February, four elephants were killed after they were hit by a train travelling from Guwahati to Silchar, about 110 miles away from its departure station in the state of Assam. The moment the effigy of Ravan caught fire, crackers started flying around. The incident happened at Choura Bazar area of Amritsar where people gathered in the evening to watch Ravana.
An eyewitness said the train didn't even whistle as it sped past the site. "They did not realise that a speeding train was coming and the train did not sound its hooter".
Police has confirmed that at least 100 people were dead.