Amritsar train accident LIVE UPDATE: Over 50 dead; PM Modi condoles, Punjab CM to visit Amritsar tomorrow

Amritsar train accident: At least 50 people have died in a train accident in Amritsar today. According to initial reports, the accident took place at Joda Phatak area in the city, where Ravan effigy was burnt near the tracks. The people who were hit could not hear the train due to the exploding crackers.

At least 60 people have been hospitalised. The police said that the injured are being moved to a hospital. 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 to the families of the accident victims.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and Congress President Rahul Gandhi have expressed their anguish at the accident. .

The incident took place when a large number of people were watching the Ravan effigy going up in flames while standing along the railway tracks. As the fireworks went off, some people started retreating towards the tracks where a huge crowd was already standing to watch the event. However, two trains arrived from the opposite direction at the same time, giving a little chance to people to escape.

A preliminary report suggested that people could not hear the hooting of the train because of the exploding crackers. Several people were mowed down by one of the trains, the officials said.

Commenting on the incident, area legislator and Local Bodies Minister Navjot Sidhu told a news channel from Bengaluru that the death toll was disturbingly high. His wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu was reportedly the Chief Guest at the Dussehra event where the incident took place at around 7 pm.

Amritsar train accident today: Here are the LIVE UPDATES

8:49 pm: “I am pained beyond words to learn about the tragic train accident in Amritsar. I have spoken to the local BJP unit and asked our karyakartas to join the rescue operation. My deepest condolences with those who have lost their loved ones. I pray for early recovery of those injured,” tweets BJP chief Amit Shah.

8:48 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweets: “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.”

8:45 pm: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah says: “What a mindless & entirely avoidable tragedy! Watching this video you’d be hard pressed to imagine the scale of the tragedy considering the way people are nonchalantly filming away on their phones even after the train has run over people!”

8:40 am: “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,” tweets Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

8:39 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays condolences to the victims of the heart-wrenching tragedy. “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”.

8:35 pm: Home Minister Rajnath Singh says Centre will provide all possible assistance to Punjab. Meanwhile, Sub Divisional Magistrate Amritsar Rajesh Sharma said 50 bodies have been found and at least 50 injured have been admitted to a government hospital.

8:30 pm: The Punjab Chief Minister is rushing to Amritsar to personally supervise relief and rescue work. “My govt will give Rs 5 lakh to kin of each deceased & free treatment to injured in govt & pvt hospitals. District authorities have been mobilised on war footing,” tweeted Singh.

8:26 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh says he was “shocked to hear” about the 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.”

8:23 pm: “Extremely sad to hear the unfortunate death of innocent devotees watching Dussehra at Joda Gate in Amritsar by a speeding train. Local organisers and police must answer how the celebrations were allowed to be held near the railway track,” tweeted Shiromani Akali Dal president and former Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

​8:21 pm: Locals alleged that Navjot Kaur Sidhu, the wife of Punjab Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, was the chief guest at the event. They further claimed that Navjot Kaur Sidhu left the venue as soon as the incident took place.

7:35 pm: The toll is expected to rise over 100. There were reportedly around 500-700 people at a ground near the tracks. The moment the effigy of Ravan caught fire, crackers started flying around. While trying to escape the crackers, people frantically started running on the railway tracks and could not see the approaching trains from either side of the tracks.

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