Dussehra celebrations on Friday turned tragic in Punjab's Amritsar as a train ploughed through people standing on the tracks watching as the effigy of Ravana went up in smoke.
The speeding train mowed down at least 50 revellers. At least 300 people were at the spot watching 'Ravana dahan' at a ground near the tracks.
Officials said at least 50 were also injured in the incident that took place at Joda Phatak. They said the train was travelling from Jalandhar to Amritsar.
President Ram Nath Kovind said he was "shocked to hear about the tragedy".
Shocked to hear about the tragedy on rail tracks in Amritsar, Punjab. Understand Indian Railways and local authorities are taking steps to help affected people. Heartfelt condolences to bereaved families #PresidentKovind
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) October 19, 2018
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled the loss of lives in the tragedy and said he has "asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required".
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 and I pray that the injured recover quickly. Have asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required. — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 19, 2018
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh announced compensation of Rs five lakh each to the kin of the deceased in the mishap. He also said he was rushing to the spot to personally supervise rescue and relief operations.
The chief minister also announced free treatment to all injured in the accident.
Rushing to Amritsar to personally supervise relief & rescue in tragic rail accident on Dussehra in Amritsar. 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.
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) October 19, 2018
We will do everything possible to assist the injured. Have directed the district administration to leave no stone unturned to ensure the best possible treatment for them. pic.twitter.com/90ddA1XeZQ — Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) October 19, 2018
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he was "pained beyond words at the loss of precious lives" in the tragedy.
Pained beyond words at the loss of precious lives due to a train tragedy during Dussehra festivities in Punjab. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased and prayers with the injured.
— राजनाथ सिंह (@rajnathsingh) October 19, 2018
I spoke to Home Secretary of Punjab and DGP of the state regarding the train accident in Amritsar. They are rushing to the spot. Centre is ready to provide all possible assistance to the state at this hour of grief. — राजनाथ सिंह (@rajnathsingh) October 19, 2018
Congress president Rahul Gandhi also urged "the state government and Congress workers to provide immdiate relief at the accident site".
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.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 19, 2018
BJP president Amit Shah also said that he had "spoken to the local BJP unit and asked out karyakartas to join the rescue operation".
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. — Amit Shah (@AmitShah) October 19, 2018
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also tweeted on the accident and appealed all the AAP volunteers to help authorities in relief work.
Extremely sad news coming about a major train accident near Amritsar
I appeal to all our volunteers in the area to help authorities in the relief work and provide whatever help we can in this moment of crisis
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) October 19, 2018
Railways minister Piyush Goyal said that "railways is conducting immediate relief and rescue operations."
Shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic train incident that occurred in Amritsar. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. I pray for the injured to recover quickly. Railways is conducting immediate relief and rescue operations. — Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) October 19, 2018
Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, whose wife was the chief guest at the event, said that he will rush back to Amritsar from Bengaluru. "I have spoken to the deputy commission. There will be an investigation."
"My wife is visiting the injured at the hospital. One should understand, nobody causes such incidents intentionally. I urge people not to politicise the issue. At this time, everyone needs to come together and share the grief," he further said.
CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury also reacted and said that "relief must be topmost priority".
Condolences to the bereaved. Shocked at this tragedy. Immediate medical attention & relief must be topmost priority. Responsibility and accountability must be fixed at the very top for such accidents. #RailwaySafety https://t.co/0YlAKgKUWt
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) October 19, 2018
Congress leader and former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said he hopes "those injured recover soon".
Extremely pained to hear about the the terrible accident on railway tracks in #Amritsar #Punjab in which so many people have lost lives. My heart goes out to their family members in this hour of grief. Hope n pray those injured recover soon. #AmritasarTrainTragedy #TrainAccident — Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) October 19, 2018
Updated Date: Oct 19, 2018 22:06:11 IST