Train services between Jalandhar and Amritsar halted after Dussehra mishap

Scores of people had lined up to film the celebrations on their phones. Pic @adarshdgp

Over 50 people are feared dead after a major train accident took place in Amritsar, Punjab, According to media reports, the accident took place near Amritsar's Joda Phatak when effigies of Ravana were being burnt on the railway tracks.

It was an EMU train, running between Jalandhar and Amritsar.

As the effigy was lit and the fireworks started at the religious function, a section of the crowd started retreating toward railroad tracks while watching the event.

The moment was captured on many people's camera phones as they were filming the fireworks as the train sped passed in front of them.

India is home to hundreds of railway crossings that are unmanned and particularly accident prone, with motorists often ignoring oncoming train warnings.

"Some are saying 50, some are saying 60", Chief Minister of Punjab Amarinder Singh said of the number killed. "My government will give Rs 5 lakh to kin of each deceased and free treatment to injured in government and private hospitals", he said on Twitter. The CM has also ordered an inquiry into the accident.

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President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives.

Railways have issued helpline numbers for assistance in Amritsar train accident:The numbers are 0183-2223171 and 0183-2564485. "The tragedy is heart-wrenching", Mr. Modi tweeted. My deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones.

A witness at the scene saw bodies of victims strewn about the tracks, and friends and relatives standing around in shock, many sobbing and appearing distraught. "Understand Indian Railways and local authorities are taking steps to help affected people", Mr. Kovind said.

Railway minister Piyush Goyal said Friday he was cancelling his trip to the USA and returning to India immediately. Injured people are being shifted to a nearby hospital meanwhile all the concerned authorities are monitoring the situation.

During several other tragedies in the past, people were seen taking selfies, which has been criticised by many as apathy and disrespectful towards the victims.

"Rushing to Amritsar to personally supervise relief and rescue in tragic rail accident on Dussehra in Amritsar. Pray that the injured persons recover very quickly", TMC chief Mamata Banerjee tweeted.

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