Amritsar Train Tragedy: Rs. 5 lakh compensation has been announced
Around 60 people have died in a train accident in Amritsar today at Joda Phatak area, where a Ravan effigy was burnt near the tracks. The people who were hit reportedly could not see or hear the trains due to the exploding crackers. At least 60 people have been hospitalised. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has expressed shock at the accident. He wrote on Twitter: "Shocked to hear of tragic rail accident in Amritsar. Have asked all govt & pvt hospitals to stay open to help in this hour of grief. District authorities have been directed to take up relief and rescue operations on a war footing."
The Punjab government has announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for the families of the accident victims. The railways has issued helpline numbers, which are 0183-2223171, 0183-2564485. People who want to donate blood should go to the Amritsar Civil Hospital and Guru Nanak Hospital. The Punjab government has ordered a probe into the accident.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and Congress President Rahul Gandhi have expressed their anguish at the accident.
Here are the updates on Amritsar Accident, train runs over people celebrating Dussehra:
The railways will launch a massive drive against trespassing on tracks across its network, Chairman Railway Board Ashwani Lohani said today, a day after 61 Dussehra revellers were run over by a train in an incident described by the railways as a "clear case of trespassing".
Railways rules out any probe, magisterial inquiry ordered by Punjab CMPunjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today said that a magisterial inquiry into the train accident will be conducted and the report will be submitted in four weeks.
But the railways said that the tragedy was a case of trespassing and not a railway accident and ruled out a probe by the Commissioner Railway Safety.
Railways also said that no action will be taken against the driver of the train who had managed to slow down the train to around 68 kmph from the speed of 91kmph at which he was assigned to run.
"The incident was not the railways' fault. There was no lapse on our part and no action against the driver will be initiated," Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said on Saturday.
Artists dressed as Ram, Hanuman, Sita and Laxman take part in a candle light march organised in Chandigarh to pay tribute to the victims of #AmritsarTrainAccident.
40 of those killed identified, 36 bodies cremated: Officials
Among those killed in the train accident, forty have been identified and 36 have been cremated, say officials.
The bodies of four other persons, who belonged to Uttar Pradesh, have been sent to their home towns by the district administration, an official said.
The 36 bodies were cremated in batches at a ground near Shitla Mata Temple in the city, in the presence of state government officials and family members of those who lost their lives.
National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah and party leader Omar Abdullah today expressed grief over the loss of lives in the Amritsar train accident.
Expressing solidarity with the bereaved families, the two leaders prayed for peace to the departed souls and strength to the families to bear the loss, a party spokesperson said.
Sukhbir Singh Badal, President of SAD has said, "The present govt is taking the accident lightly as CM is saying that inquiry report will come after 4 weeks. FIR should be registered on the statements of the victims. Inquiry should be done by independent agency."
BJP leader Sambit Patra said, "It was quite shocking. There was an administrative failure on the part of the Punjab government. This is a case of section 304A of IPC (causing death by negligence). BJP demands justice for all those who have demised or are injured."
Expressing grief over the train accident in Punjab, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has questioned the level of preparedness for the public event near railway tracks.
"The incident is tragic. We have learnt that some of the deceased belong to Bihar. Our condolences to all those who have lost their lives," Mr Kumar, who had served as railway minister under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, said today.
"A high level of alertness is required while holding any public function in the vicinity of a railway line," the chief minister said.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has directed Home Secretary NS Kalsi to prepare detailed guidelines for permission to hold religious and social congregations, in order to prevent the kind of tragedy that struck Amritsar during Dussehra celebrations on Friday.
Sukhbir Singh Badal, President of SAD reaches Joda Phathak where the DMU train ran over people who were watching Dussehra celebrations in Choura Bazar yesterday. He says,"It is an unpardonable negligence. Strong action should be taken. It is a mass massacre."
Navjot Kaur Sidhu on #AmritsarTrainAccident
There were vacant seats at Dhobi Ghat ground. Ravan was tied securely & there were no chances of it falling down & creating chaos. There was no stampede. Announcements were made 4-5 times asking people to come inside Dhobi Ghat ground
The railways cancelled 37 trains and diverted 16 trains on Saturday.
Giving details, the railways said 10 mail/express trains and 27 passenger trains were cancelled. While 16 trains were diverted and reached their destination through a different route, 18 trains were short terminated, Northern Railways spokesperson Deepak Kumar said.
The route between Jalandhar and Amritsar was suspended, he said.
Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani said in a statement that the accident occurred at a mid-section between the Amritsar and Manawala stations and not at a level crossing.
Dussehra committee had written a letter to police seeking security arrangements for Dussehra celebrations at Dhobi Ghat, Golden Avenue in Amritsar. Assistant Sub-Inspector Daljeet Singh reverted that police have no objections in this regard, documents show.
Dalbir Singh had just finished playing Ravana at the Ramleela festivities in Amritsar and was getting ready to watch the burning of the effigy a little after 7 pm on Friday. He was walking towards Joda Phatak to get a better view of the fireworks, when he saw a train at breakneck speed, approaching the crowd who were standing on track to watch the Dussehra festivities. Before he could raise an alarm, Mr Singh was crushed under the train.
At least 61 people have died and 113 others injured in the train accident. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh visited hospital and took stock of the situation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered condolences over the accident.
Amarinder Singh briefed by the Crisis Management Group on relief and rehabilitation measures.
Earlier this morning, Congress legislator Navjot Singh Sidhu met the injured in the hospital.
Chief Minister Amrinder Singh has reached Amritsar airport. He is being briefed about the relief operations by officials and the Crises Management Team.
According to sources, organisers had informed the administration about the event, but they did not seek permission of Indian Railways.
Also this year, the event was organised on larger scale as the Congress government was in power in the state.
Witnesses said the dead included children. There were around 300 people at the accident spot. At least 58 people have been injured; 13 of them are critical.
13 trains shortly terminated, 5 trains short originated, 6 trains cancelled & 2 trains diverted following #Amritsar train accident: CPRO Northern Railways
Doctors at Civil Hospital and Guru Nanak Hospital said 32 bodies have been identified. It will take time to identify more bodies as they have been cut into pieces by the metal wheels of the fast-moving train, they said.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is expected to arrive in an hour. Mr Singh is expected to visit the civil hospital in Amritsar, where the injured are undergoing treatment.
Congress corporator's son had organised the function. Saurabh Mithu Madan is the son of ward number 29 councillor Vijay Madan. The councillor is close to the family of Congress minister and Amritsar East MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu. His wife Navjot Kaur was the chief guest.
"There was a lot of noise, in the chaos, a lot of people died. There were a lot of bodies all over. Somebody's head was cut off, somebody's limbs were cut off," an eyewitness in the incident said, according to news agency ANI.
Amritsar Train Tragedy: "My thoughts are with everyone": Justin Trudeau tweets his condolences Amritsar Train Accident: Around 72 have been injured
Around 72 persons have been injured in the train accident at Amritsar, according to PTI.
Amritsar Train Accident: UN Secretary-General tweets
Amritsar Train Accident: Railways issues helpline numbers
Railways not kept in loop about Dussehra celebrations near Amritsar accident site, no permission given by us for it: Official, according to news agency Press Trust of India
Minutes after the DMU Jalandhar-Amritsar passenger train on Friday crushed over 60 people watching the burning of a Ravan effigy from a railway track, the locomotive pilot of the train immediately informed the station master at the next station about the incident, officials said.
60 dead and 51 injured in Amritsar train accident: Chief Medical Officer of Civil Hospital tells news agency ANI
I visited the accident site. Everyone present there including those who lost their family members complained against Navjot Kaur Sidhu, Navjot Sidhu and the councillor of the area, they all felt that the incident wouldn't have occurred if all precautions were taken: SAD's BS Majithia
Approximately, more than 60 injured people including children have received medical treatment till now. Most people have suffered orthopedic injuries, abrasions, head trauma and eye injuries: Dr Sandeep, Emergency Medical Officer, Civil Hospital
All services on Jalandhar-Amritsar route remained suspended three hours after the accident.
Amritsar parliamentarian Gurjeet Singh Aujla, who is present at Civil Hospital, has said that probe will be conducted into the incident. He said action will be taken against the guilty, even if it is Navjot Kaur Sidhu.
The Punjab government's Crisis Management Group is led by Health Minister Brahm Mohindra, with Revenue Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi as members.
Paramilitary ITBP's jawans are also present at the accident site for rescue and relief operation.
These numbers can be used reach for information on the accident -- 01832223171 and 01832564485.
-Telephone numbers at Manawala station are 0183-2440024, 0183-2402927
-Ferozpur's helpline number is 01632-1072.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved Rs 2 lakhs as compensation for the family of the accident victims. Rs 50,000 as compensation has also been announced for the injured.
Medical teams are rushing to the spot. I am also leaving for the site of the accident. As per initial information, people present near the railway track couldn't hear the sound of the approaching train due to bursting crackers: Minister of State For Railways Manoj Sinha
"There are more than 50 casualties. We are evacuating people, injured taken to the hospital", said SS Shrivastava, Commissioner of Police, Amritsar.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has set up a Crisis Management Group.
All educational institutions will remain closed in Amritsar tomorrow: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has ordered an inquiry into the train accident.
People who want to donate blood should go to the Amritsar Civil Hospital and Guru Nanak Hospital: Public Relations Department, Punjab Government
Union minister and Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal said the onus was on the state government.
"There are not enough words to mourn the Amritsar train tragedy that claims so many innocent lives. My deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones. The incident needs to be probed as it casts serious question on administration," she tweeted.
Indian Railways has issued helpline numbers for the Amritsar accident. Helpline telephone numbers at Manawala station- Railways -73325, BSNL - 0183-2440024; Power Cabin ASR-Rly - 72820, BSNL - 0183-2402927; Vijay Sahota, SSE: 7986897301 and Vijay Patel, SSE: 7973657316
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal cancels all engagements in the US, says immediately returning back to India.
Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani and Northern Railway general manager Vishwesh Chaube are rushing to the spot, officials said.
Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has questioned the administration, saying how could permission for the event was given at a place so close to the tracks.
Shocked to know of the train accident resulting in deaths of people at Dussehra celebrations in Amritsar. Strength to families who've lost their dear ones. Hope those injured recover soon: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
Ravan effigy was being burnt 70-80 m from the gate. When the effigy fell, people present there ran towards the railway track. At the time, a train was passing and the level crossing there was shut: CPRO, Northern Railways
Saddened and distressed by death of innocent people celebrating Dussehra festival in Amritsar. The accident is tragic. May God give strength to all. My heart goes out to the victims and the bereaved families. My condolences to those who lost their dear ones: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
Railways issues helpline numbers: 0183-2223171, 0183-2564485
Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri wrote on Twitter: "Absolutely devastated to hear about the tragic train accident in Amritsar. May God grant strength to those who lost a loved one & speedy recovery to the injured."
The injured are being moved to the Civil Hospital in Amritsar.
Minister Of State For Railways Manoj Sinha is rushing to the site of the accident in Amritsar.
It is an unfortunate accident. We don't have any confirmation on the numbers who have been impacted by the incident. Accident relief train has reached the site. Minister of State for Railways is also rushing to the spot: ADG PR, Indian Railways
People who are doing politics over the accident should be ashamed: Navjot Kaur Sidhu
"The effigy of Ravan was burnt. I had just left the site when the incident happened," Navjot Kaur Sidhu who was the chief guest at the event said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also expressed grief. She said she is left with no words to express her shock and agony.
"Very very sad to learn about the unfortunate rail incident in Amritsar during Dussehra festivities. I have no words to describe my shock and agony. My heart goes out to the family members of the victims. Pray that the injured persons recover very quickly," she wrote on Twitter.
Shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic train incident that occurred in Amritsar. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. I pray for the injured to recover quickly. Railways is conducting immediate relief and rescue operations: Piyush Goyal
We will do everything possible to assist the injured. Have directed the district administration to leave no stone unturned to ensure the best possible treatment for them: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh
An eyewitness said that Congress leader Navjot Sidhu's wife was the chief guest at the event.
The train accident in Punjab in which over 50 people have died is shocking. I urge the state government & Congress workers to provide immediate relief at the accident site. My condolences to the families of those who have died. I pray that the injured make a speedy recovery: Congress President Rahul Gandhi
The police have not yet given the exact number of people who have died.
"People were standing on the tracks. They did not realise what to do as two trains came from opposite directions. We don't know who gave permission to organise this event:" Amritsar lawmaker Gurjeet Singh Aujla tells NDTV
Shocked to hear about the tragedy on rail tracks in Amritsar, Punjab. Understand Indian Railways and local authorities are taking steps to help affected people. Heartfelt condolences to bereaved families: President Kovind
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed anguish at 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," he wrote on Twitter.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has directed Home Secretary, Health Secretary and ADGP Law and Order to immediately rush to Amritsar.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he is leaving for Amritsar. He has announced Rs 5 lakh compensation to the families of accident victims.
"I spoke to Home Secretary of Punjab and DGP of the state regarding the train accident in Amritsar. They are rushing to the spot. Centre is ready to provide all possible assistance to the state at this hour of grief," added Home Minister Rajnath Singh added.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh has reacted to the accident. He wrote in Twitter: "Pained beyond words at the loss of precious lives due to a train tragedy during Dussehra festivities in Punjab. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased and prayers with the injured."
At gate number 27 between Amritsar and Manawala, as Dussehra celebration was taking place, some incident occurred and people started rushing towards closed gate number 27, while a DMU train number 74943 was passing the closed gate, said CPRO Northern Railway.
"Extremely sad news coming about a major train accident near Amritsar I appeal to all our volunteers in the area to help authorities in the relief work and provide whatever help we can in this moment of crisis," Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote on Twitter.
"The administration and the Dussehra committee are at fault, they should have raised an alarm when the train was approaching, they should have made sure that the train halts or slows down," eyewitnesses were quoted by news agency ANI.
The police have said that there could be more than 50 casualties. The police are evacuating people and the injured are being taken to the hospital.
News agency ANI quoted eyewitness who said the train was travelling at a fast speed.
Several people run over by train while they were standing on tracks to watch burning of Ravana effigy near Amritsar, said railway officials quoted by news agency PTI.