Train crashes into crowd in India

An angry crowd shout slogans as they sit by bodies of victims of a train accident in Amritsar India Friday Oct. 19 2018.                        Prabhjot Gill  AP

An angry crowd shout slogans as they sit by bodies of victims of a train accident in Amritsar India Friday Oct. 19 2018. Prabhjot Gill AP

Locals gather near the site of accident at Jodh Phatak.

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier expressed grief over the loss of lives in Amritsar train accident. The railway crossing gates were closed and the crossing was manned.

The process of identifying the other persons is underway, it said.

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

Witnesses said the dead included children. At least 58 people have been injured; 13 of them are critical.

"The incident was not a railways' fault". They crowded the rail track on the outskirts of Amritsar, a city in Punjab state.

The organiser, Saurabh Madan, who is also the president of Dussehra Committee (East) and husband of Congress Councillor Vijay Madan, had sought permission for the October 19 event. "Every year Dussehra is organised there".

Lohani said the if the driver had applied emergency brakes, it could have been a bigger tragedy.

Amid questions being raised in some quarters about why the train did not stop despite such a large crowd being there, the official said, "There was so much smoke that the driver was unable to see anything and he was also negotiating a curve". "Everyone was running helter-skelter and suddenly the train crashed into the crowds of people", he said.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has said he is rushing to Amritsar to personally supervise relief and rescue efforts.

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He also met the injured and kin of those killed in the tragic accident in hospital. Mr Goyal, who is in the U.S., also said he is returning to India.

Sidhu said when he learnt about the accident, he was shocked. However, the service remains poorly funded and accidents are relatively common.

Later, as night fell, more pictures and videos came in from our network of stringers and reporters in Amritsar.

"Why did authorities allow the fireworks display so close to the railroad track, '" he asked on TV. "Trains travel in speed only".

Police said that it was a "freak accident" and that people had not heard the train approaching because of the din of the festivities and fireworks. At midsections, there is no railway staff posted. Navjot Singh Sidhu, her husband, rubbished the allegations.

Police have said that numerous victims were dismembered beyond recognition, and it will take several days to identify the dead.

Was permission granted for the event? The effigy was being burnt at the same place for quite some time. He added local administration should take responsibility. Priority is to get the injured treated. The Punjab Police has deployed its personnel, including commandoes, to manage the crowd.

As the effigy was lit and the fireworks started, a section of the crowd started retreating towards the railway while observing the event. The casualties were caused by one of the trains, it quoted officials as saying.

"It does not appear that the loco driver was at fault in the incident", said Northern Railway chief public relations officer, according to ANI.

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