Scores dead in India as train hits crowd

Posted by News Express | 20 October 2018 | 997 times

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•The accident scene

More than 60 people have been killed and 100 hurt after a train ran into a crowd near Amritsar in India's northern Punjab state, police told the BBC.

The victims were standing on the railway tracks watching celebrations for the Hindu festival of Dusshera, eyewitnesses told BBC Punjabi.

They did not hear the train approach as they watched a firecracker-filled effigy of the demon king Ravana burn.

Officials said the priority now was to take the injured to local hospitals.

Footage posted to social media showed the fast-travelling train hitting the crowd.

 The incident happened at about 18:30 local time (13:00 GMT), said local journalist Ravinder Singh Robin.

Just moments before, crowds watching the firecrackers show were asked by organisers to move back - towards the railway tracks, reports say.

Some eyewitnesses suggested that victims did not hear the train horn.

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

 Eyewitness Amar Nath told BBC Punjabi that people were "mauled" by the train.

"I removed the bodies from the tracks... my hands were full of blood."

Local resident Amit Kumar told the BBC: "Every year, people sit on the tracks when festivities take place here" during Dusshera.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh described the incident as "absolutely tragic", and wrote in a tweet that local authorities were being "mobilised".

"We will do everything possible to assist the injured," he said, adding: "[I] have directed the district administration to leave no stone unturned to ensure the best possible treatment for them."

He said that victims would be given medical aid for free.

A state of mourning has been declared, with offices and schools in Punjab to be closed on Saturday, Reuters reports.


Source: News Express

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