At least 61 people, including women and children, were mowed down by speeding trains that left 72 others injured near Amritsar on Friday, as Dussehra revelry spilled on the adjacent railway tracks.Tragedy struck around 6.45 pm at Dhobi Ghat near Jaura Phatak railway crossing at gate number 27 between Amritsar and Manawala when revellers were watching an effigy of Ravana burn about 200 ft away while standing between railway tracks.
"We have also ordered an inquiry as to why this incident has taken place", Singh told ANI, adding he did not know why the Dussehra celebrations were being held so close to the railway tracks.
"There are not enough words to mourn the Amritsar train tragedy that claims so many innocent lives".
Navjot Kaur Siddhu, a local Congress party politician who was the chief guest at the festival, said the celebrations take place in the same area every year and that the railways are warned to run trains at slow speeds.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh described the incident as "absolutely tragic", and wrote in a tweet that local authorities were being "mobilised".
A Reuters witness at the scene saw bodies of victims strewn around rail tracks, friends and relatives stood around in shock, many were sobbing and appeared distraught.
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Sub Divisional Magistrate, Amritsar I, Rajesh Sharma said 50 bodies have been found and at least 50 injured have been admitted to a government hospital.
Train accidents are fairly common in India, where much of the railway equipment is out of date. "Have asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required", Modi said on Twitter.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh promised all possible assistance to the State from the Central government. My government will give Rs 5 lakh to kin of each deceased and free treatment to injured in government and private hospitals. "As per initial information, people present near the railway track couldn't hear the sound of the approaching train due to bursting of crackers", he told before leaving for Amritsar.
While some trains are being diverted, many are stationed near Jalandhar, he said.
Following the accident, people rushed to the site, almost 470km north of New Delhi, and shouted at railway officials for not taking precautions. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. "My thoughts are with the families of the deceased and prayers with the injured".