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Train kills at least 60 people watching fireworks in India during festival

21 Octobre 2018

Amrit Singh, the director of the railway station at Amritsar, said a commuter train travelling at 90 kilometres per hour would travel for 700 metres after the brakes are applied before stopping.

However, the Times of India report notes that a statutory inquiry by the Commission of Railway Safety-a part of the Ministry of Civil Aviation-will be conducted. "Trains travel in speed only", said Sinha.

Eyewitnesses told The Sunday Express that every year they would stand on railway tracks and watch the firecrackers. This train will be followed by mail/express trains, he said. "The Congress government should be held responsible for this", he said.

Hundreds of relatives of the victims engaged in sporadic protests on and near the tracks Saturday, calling for action against local authorities and the train operator, who was questioned Saturday by police.

Ashwani Lohani, chairman of the Railway Board, visited the accident site.

"The toll can rise", State police chief Suresh Arora told Reuters, adding emergency officials were still trying to ascertain the extent of the disaster on the outskirts of Amritsar in Punjab state. The train was travelling from Jalandhar to Amritsar.

"At midsections trains run at their assigned speeds and people are not expected to be on the tracks At midsections there is no railway staff posted. It was a clear case of trespassing", he said. They cordoned off the area and directed residents to not come out of their houses near the railway track. There were people standing on the railway track and some were sitting on the stones around it. The Amritsar Police on Friday said they had given permission for the Dussehra celebration at the Dhobi Ghat ground. The railway crossing gates were closed and the crossing was manned.

Reports said around 700 people were witnessing the effigy burning and over 300 were on the tracks. "The event took place at a place adjoining the railway land in private property", he said.

While Railway authorities are not ready to accept their fault, politicians and police in Punjab want to fix criminal responsibility on employees including the gatemen and the driver.

Fifty bodies had already been found and at least 50 injured were admitted to a government-run hospital, the Press Trust of India news agency quoted Rajesh Sharma, a magistrate, as saying.

Most of the dead were migrant labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Expressing grief over the loss of life caused after a train mowed down scores of people here, Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Saturday urged all political parties to avoid indulging in mudslinging.

He has cancelled his engagements in the USA and immediately returning to India.

Train kills at least 60 people watching fireworks in India during festival