Amritsar rail tragedy: Two days and no sign of organisers, no arrests

Train mishap leaves a trail of deaths and many injured

Following the accident, the railways have cancelled 37 trains, diverted 16 trains, short terminated 12 trains and short originated six trains on the route.

As a blame game played out over the Dussehra tragedy in Amritsar, the police admitted they gave the organisers a no-objection certificate but said the event where a train mowed down at least 61 revellers also needed permission from the municipal corporation. Police said they were still looking to ascertain the number of dead as some bodies were mangled beyond recognition.

Taking stock of the situation, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh directed senior officials to rush to the accident spot.

It is believed people were unable to escape as another train on a separate track arrived at the same time.

AMRITSAR, India-India's railway officials and local community leaders traded blame on October 20 over an accident in which a train ran over scores of people gathered on the railway tracks for a festival in the northern city of Amritsar. The first goods train started from Manawala to Amritsar at 2.16 pm, said Northern Railways spokesperson Deepak Kumar.

Angry people are raising slogans against the state government, saying that it did nothing to ensure proper security arrangements for the Dussehra event.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh have also promised all possible assistance.

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Earlier in the day, protesting locals clashed with police and resorted to stone pelting when they were removed from the tracks.

Hardeep Singh, chief medical officer for Amritsar, told AFP 59 deaths had been confirmed and 90 people had been injured, with seven in critical condition.

Although Dussehra celebrations were not held on this plot last year, it has been used to celebrate Dussehra for nearly 10 years, said Jeet Singh Bhatia, a corporator whose ward is located next to the ground. "An FIR is [registered] against unidentified people, even though the organiser is identified as Saurav Madaan", he said.

According to reports the burning of the effigy was delayed due to the late arrival of the chief guest of the event, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, wife of the Amritsar East MLA and cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.

The event was organised by Saurabh Madan, husband of Congress councillor Vijay Madan, the police said. The Punjab government had on Saturday ordered a magisterial probe into the accident, while railways has ruled out any inquiry on its part.

But almost every month there are accidents involving trains that derail or hit vehicles on crossings.

Following the accident, people rushed to the site, almost 465 kilometers (290 miles) north of New Delhi, and shouted at railway officials for not taking precautions.

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