New Delhi: More than 50 people feared dead after a train ran into people watching Dussehra celebrations near rail track in Amritsar’s Choura Bazar on Friday. Reportedly, the unfortunate incident took place when people were were standing on tracks to watch the burning of Ravan effigy on the occasion of the Dussehra. Due to the noise of the crackers, people could not hear the sound of the approaching train. Also Read - 'Distressed' Over Centre's Passage of Farm Bills, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh to Hold Sit-in Today
The effigy was being burnt near the railway track by some locals at Joda Phatak. The train was coming from Pathankot to Amritsar. The toll is expected to rise over 100. There were around 500-700 people at the spot. The moment the effigy of Ravan caught fire, crackers started flying around. Also Read - 'It Will Worsen COVID-19 Situation': Plea in Delhi High Court Calls to Prevent Stubble Burning
Several people got injured in the accident and have been rushed to the hospital. The police are carrying out the rescue operation.
Police said, “There are more than 50 casualties. We are evacuating people, injured taken to the hospital.” Panic gripped the area. An eyewitness said, “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.”
Punjab Chief Minister has directed Home Secretary, Health Secretary and ADGP Law and Order to immediately rush to the accident spot. Revenue Minister Sukhbinder Sarkaria deputed to immediately reach Amritsar to oversee rescue operations. CM to visit Amritsar tomorrow to access the situation.
“Shocked to hear of a 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,” tweeted Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also tweeted, “Pained beyond words at the loss of precious lives due to a train tragedy during Dussehra festivities in . My thoughts are with the families of the deceased and prayers with the injured.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted, “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&I pray that the injured recover quickly. Have asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required.”
The ten-day festival is celebrated with great zeal in Delhi with committees organizing Ramlila in several cities such as Delhi, Ayodhya, Patna and Varanasi. Ramlila is any dramatic folk re-enactment of the life of Lord Rama according to Ramayana or other holy scripture such as Ramcharitmanas. On the Vijayadashami day, giant effigies of Ravana along with his brother, Kumbhkaran and son, Meghnad are burned. The sky is lit with sparkling fireworks and is a gorgeous experience for the attendees at the Dussehra site. The burning of Ravana effigies represents the victory of right over wrong.