This comes as a huge administration fault on the part of not only the Dasara Celebrations Committee but also the Railways for not taking proper precautionary messages that would have saved lives of almost 50 people who died in a mishap when a train rammed into people who were watching Dasara celebrations, i.e., burning Ravan's effigy. Thirty bodies had been removed from the site by Friday evening.
A witness told a news channel that as the Ravan effigy went up in flames, people started running when they were crushed by the train on the way to Amritsar from Pathankot. Rescue operations are now underway. "Have asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required", he said.
A large number of villagers rushed to the site after the accident and condemned railway authorities for not taking precautions in view of the festival. "Exact figure is not known but it is definitely more than 50-60", Amritsar Police Commissioner SS Srivastava told ANI. "The people were standing on and near the track", senior local police official Parbhjot Singh told CNN.
An eyewitness said, a train travelling at a fast speed ran over several people during Dussehra celebrations, in Choura Bazar near Amritsar.
Punjab's home secretary, health secretary and DGP law and order also left for Amritsar. The toll is likely to rise, he said.
A railway official said in New Delhi that the drop gates at the spot were down but people still massed on the tracks in violation of railway rules.
People shouted slogans against local MLA Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who was present as chief guest during the event.
Shatrughan Das, an injured 35-year-old factory worker, said he was sitting close to the railroad track watching the fireworks.
Singh said he was rushing to Amritsar to personally supervise relief and rescue operations.
ADCP Lakhbir Singh said 15 bodies have been found.
Former Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal demanded an inquiry by a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.