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Punjab Chief Minister arrives in Amritsar over train tragedy

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh waiting for Governor of Punjab VP Singh Badnore on 3rd day of Punjab Assembly Session in Chandigarh on Tuesday, March 28 2017. Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh arrived in Amritsar on Saturday, nearly 16 hours after at least 60 people were crushed to death by a train while watching the burning of a Ravana effigy here.

The Chief Minister, accompanied by Punjab Congress President and Gurdaspur MP Sunil Jakhar, arrived on a special flight from New Delhi.

Read Also, Amritsar train tragedy: Punjab Governor, Sidhu visit injured in hospital

He immediately held a meeting with senior officers of the district administrations, cabinet ministers and Congress legislators. The officers briefed him about the whole tragedy and the number of deaths and injuries.

On Friday evening, a 700 strong crowd watching a huge Ravana effigy go up in flames amid exploding crackers spilled on to the tracks at Jora Phatak area when the Jalandhar-Amritsar Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) passenger train heading to Hoshiarpur from Amritsar came hurtling down at around 7 p.m.

Read Also, #AmritsarTrainTragedy: Train driver detained, questioned

Most people reportedly could not hear the hooting of the train due to the exploding crackers. In just 10-15 seconds it left behind a heap of crushed and dismembered bodies. The Punjab government has declared state mourning on Saturday.

Following the accident, the railways cancelled 37 trains, diverted 16 trains, short terminated 12 trains and short originated six trains on the route.

Read Also, #AmritsarTrainTragedy: Railways deny ‘responsibility’

Railway authorities have said that the tragedy was not their responsibility as the organisers and local authorities had not informed them about the event being held so close to the railway tracks.

Senior railway officials said here that the presence of so many people, who were watching the function, on the railway tracks was a “trespass”. The Chief Minister has ordered a probe into the incident.

For Update, Amritsar Train Accident: Live Updates (October, 19-20)

#AmritsarTrainTragedy: Railways deny ‘responsibility’

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