Amritsar train tragedy: Police injured as protesters take to stone-pelting

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Amritsar train tragedy: Police injured as protesters take to stone-pelting

The core committee said it was condemnable that the State was refusing to take action against the Congress leaders despite worldwide condemnation and a demand that the guilty be prosecuted however high and mighty they may be.

On Friday evening, a gathering of more than 300 people were on the tracks to watch the burning of a Ravana effigy when the speeding train struck leaving 59 dead and scores injured.

Indian Railways said it had not been informed of the celebration, even though locals said it had been held at the same place for several years. "Our function had nothing to do with the railways". However, nothing untoward had happened earlier, they said. "The authorities did not react for a long time", said Raman. Previous organisers of the event said they used to inform railway authorities about the event.

"If they have to cross they should do so very slowly".

Senior Railway officials were not available for comment on the matter officially. "But this year it seems the requisite permission was not taken", he alleged.

Police are also making announcement on loudspeakers asking people to remain inside their houses.

But Ms Kaur said effigies were burnt at six places in Amritsar and majority were in fields near the tracks.

Section 145 of the Railways Act makes it clear that tracks are "highly dangerous".

At the Sunday protest, another local, named Raju, said a man was still looking for the body of his father who died in the incident. The casualties were caused by one of the trains.

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Data from Parliament in July showed that 49,790 people were killed by trains on India's tracks between 2015 and a year ago. They heard its horn too.

Witnesses said the victims did not realize the train was coming because of the sound of the fireworks and celebrations.

The protesters raised slogans against the district administration and vent their ire against the railways for not slowing down the train.

But Amritsar municipal commissioner Sonali Giri said: "Nobody was given permission for organising the event; nobody had applied for permission". She told ANI, "It is an unfortunate accident".

Director General of Punjab Police Suresh Arora on Sunday said the police has already registered a case to fix criminal liability.

"Almost 4,000-5,000 persons attended the function. The people on the tracks had come on the tracks from the other side", he added.

Singh said only 25 bodies had been identified so far.

Punjab Chief Minister and Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu outside the Guru Nanak Hospital in Amritsar.

The Commission of Railway Safety works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and conducts mandatory inquiry into all railway accidents - at unmanned level crossings, derailments or after a bridge collapse.

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