At least 59 people were killed and 72 injured when a speeding train ran over a crowd of Dussehra revelers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching Ravana's effigy going up in flames.
Video footage from the scene showed hundreds had gathered to watch the burning of an effigy as part of the Dussehra festival celebrations, when a commuter train ran through the crowd.
Amit Singh, the gate-keeper at the level crossing, said that no permission had been sought for the event. Earlier, the Centre had announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the families of the victims and Rs 50,000 to the injured. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has ordered an inquiry into the accident. The organisers, however, did not take permission from the Municipal Corporation, the health and the fire departments.
"We weren't kept in the loop and we provided no permission for the event", he said.
On questions raised about the event being organised near railway tracks, he said the permission was sought from police was for organising the event "within four walls" of a campus near the tracks.
Asked about opposition attack on former MLA Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who was the chief guest at the Dussehra function, Sinha said nobody should do politics on this issue. When she enquired from police commissioner, he dissuaded her from visiting the site.
"I offer my deepest sympathies over tragic consequences of an accident on railways in Punjab".
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The locals had started protesting Saturday, raising slogans against the state government and demanding action against the train's driver, a day after the accident here. According to them, the driver did not slow the train down despite the huge crowd present.
ANI reported that a witness at the scene said the train was moving fast.
The train that hit the crowds was travelling from Jalandhar to Amritsar.
The railways has issued helpline numbers for the kin of those injured and dead in Amritsar train accident. While 16 trains were diverted and reached their destination through a different route, 18 trains were short terminated, Northern Railways spokesperson Deepak Kumar said to PTI.
Railway authorities defended themselves saying that they had not been informed about the Dussehra event at that spot and the local police did not prevent the people from coming on the live and busy railway tracks.
The accident occurred near Amritsar in Punjab.