Railway Minister condoles loss of lives in Amritsar train accident

The district administration has said that out of 59 people who were mowed down by the speeding Jalandhar-Amritsar train Friday, 40 have been identified.

Navjot Kaur Siddhu, a local Congress party politician who was the chief guest at the religious function, said the celebrations take place in the area every year and railway authorities are alerted to run the trains at slow speeds.

Protestors in Amritsar reportedly clashed with police personnel on Sunday and threw stones and bricks after being removed from railway tracks, police said.

More than 60 people have been killed and 100 hurt after a train ran into a crowd near Amritsar in India's northern Punjab state, police told the BBC.

A crowd had formed near the tracks on the city's fringe for the burning of effigies, as part of a major Hindu festival last Friday when the train sped through the gathering in darkness, officials and witnesses said.

Many bodies were badly dismembered and police said identification of the victims could take several days, officials said.

Singh also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the families of all the victims as well as declared that the Punjab government will bear all the medical costs.

It is not clear who, if anyone, had given permission for the event and officials are trading blame, reported BBC.

"Railways can not be blamed".

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The body of a victim of Friday's train accident is carried in for cremation in Amritsar, India, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018.

"There was no lapse on our part and no action against the driver will be initiated", Manoj Sinha told reporters in New Delhi, adding "trains travel in speed only".

Ashwani Lohani, the chairman of the Railway Board, said it was "wrong" to hold the railways responsible for what had happened because they had not been made aware of the event, and people "are not expected to be on the tracks".

But Kaur, whose husband, Navjyot Singh Sidhu, is a former Indian Test cricketer and now a state minister, said effigies were burned at six places in Amritsar and a lot of them were in fields near the tracks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday offered condolences to India on a train accident near Amritsar in Punjab, which claimed 61 lives, the Russian Embassy said.

He further attacked Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh-led Punjab government for taking the incident "lightly".

The event was organised by Saurabh Madan, husband of Congress councillor Vijay Madan, the police said.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Sunday demanded the removal of Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu as well as the immediate arrest of his wife and former MLA Navjot Kaur Sidhu and the organisers of the Dussehra festival committee. They alleged that she left soon after the accident.

Sinha was responding to a query over the incident at Joda Phatak when the passenger train heading to Hoshiarpur from Amritsar came hurtling down.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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