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50 dead as train runs over Dussehra revellers in Punjab

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Amritsar, Oct 19: Over 50 people are feared dead and several injured after a speeding train mowed down Dussehra revellers near Amritsar on Friday. The incident took place at Joda Fatak level crossing where Dusshera celebrations were underway.

Initial reports suggest Dussera revellers were watching the burning of a Ravan close to the track. The crowd had spilt on to the rail line when the local train came and crushed a number of them in Amritsar. Rescue operations have been launched and efforts are underway to save people from the debris. The accident happened at gate no. 27 between Amritsar and Manawala.

Sub Divisional Magistrate Amritsar Rajesh Sharma said 50 bodies have been found and at least 50 injured have been admitted to a government hospital.

“As the effigy was lit and the fireworks went off, a section of the crowd started retreating towards the tracks where a large number of people were already standing to watch the event,” officials said.

However, two trains arrived from the opposite direction at the same time giving little opportunity to people to escape, they said.

Several people were mowed down by one of the trains, they said.

PM Modi tweeted and expressed condolences to the family members of deceased in the accident. “Extremely saddened by the train accident in Amritsar. The tragedy is heart-wrenching. My deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones and I pray that the injured recover quickly. Have asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required,” Modi said.

The Centre has assured all possible help to the state, Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke Home Secretary of Punjab and DGP of the state and added, “Centre is ready to provide all possible assistance to the state at this hour of grief.”

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also rushed to the spot to supervise rescue and relief operation.

The state government has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of each deceased and free treatment to injured in government and private hospitals.

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