Amritsar Train Accident: Eyewitnesses Recount Horrific Details
Over 60 people are feared dead in a major train accident that took place near Amritsar’s Jora Phatak on Friday, 19 October. DMU train number 74943 ran over a crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching the burning of a Ravana effigy at around 7 pm.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia to the kin of the deceased.
MoS Railways Manoj Sinha, meanwhile, said that no permission was sought for the effigy burning near the tracks, and added that he will reach the site around midnight.
Meanwhile, eyewitnesses present at the scene of the accident recounted the horrific details of the tragedy.
Several people also reported that the dead included multiple children. According to eyewitness accounts, there were around 700 people at the accident spot.
‘Driver Didn’t Sound the Horn’
An eyewitness present at the scene of the accident said that the people watching the burning Ravana effigy near the Jora Phatak feared that debris from the effigy might fall on them.
Fearing this, the people standing close to the effigy started to retreat towards the railway tracks behind them, he said.
Another eyewitness said that the train was travelling at a fast speed and did not slow down at the crossing.
‘Administration at Fault’
Speaking to ANI, a bystander present at the site laid the blame on the railway administration and the event organisers.
‘Navjot Singh Sidhu's Wife Was Chief Guest’
Another eyewitness at the site said that Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu's wife was the chief guest of the event.
Meanwhile, Amarinder Singh announced a day of state mourning on Saturday.
“The state will remain in mourning tomorrow in view of the Amritsar train accident. All offices & educational institutions will remain closed,” CM Amarinder Singh announced.
He added that he had ordered an inquiry into the accident and set up crisis centers under the Punjab Health & Welfare Minister Brahm Mohindra’s oversight.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Kovind, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, and Congress President Rahul Gandhi offered their condolences.
Modi also approved Rs 2 lakh compensation for the family of those deceased and Rs 50,000 for those injured in the accident.