Ex-India state official: Most train victims migrant workers

India train disaster toll rises amid anger over safety

R.C. Yadav, former chairman of Punjab state's Workers Welfare Board, said that numerous 60 killed and dozens injured when a speeding train ran over a crowd celebrating the Hindu festival of Dussehra on Friday night had left their families in neighboring states to work in factories and shops in Punjab. Police has deployed its personnel, including commandoes, to manage the crowd. The Rapid Action Force is also present in the Joda Patak area, officials said.

At least 50 people were killed when a crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching burning of Ravana effigy was run over by a train - DMU train 74943 - near Amritsar.

But the dhobi ghat of the posh Golden Avenue colony that lies beside the railway track can not accommodate even 500 people.

Railway authorities in Punjab and New Delhi defended themselves saying that they had not been informed about the Dusshera event at that spot and the local police did not prevent the people from coming on the railway tracks.

Neither the organisers nor the police administration had barricaded the tracks to stop people from venturing onto them, preliminary investigations have revealed.

Some desperate families went from hospital to hospital in the northern city of Amritsar on Saturday looking for missing relatives, while the first funerals of some victims were held.

Twenty-seven trains have been cancelled since Saturday due to the blockade, reported the Hindustan Times.

India train disaster toll rises amid anger over safety
Ex-India state official: Most train victims migrant workers

Singh declared a state of mourning and said all offices and educational institutions across the state would remain closed on Saturday.

Sidhu is facing flak from the BJP and SAD over the incident as his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu was the chief guest at the Dussehra celebration at Jora Phatak in Dhobi Ghat area. Meanwhile, the municipal corporation distanced itself from the tragedy. "Nobody was given the permission for organising the Dussehra event. Moreover, nobody had applied for the permission with the Amritsar Municipal Corporation", Commissioner Sonali Giri told PTI.

The accident occurred mainly owing some glaring mistakes committed.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced ₹5 lakh compensation each to the kin of the deceased and cancelled his proposed Israel visit to rush back to Amritsar. There was an outpouring of grief with President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore and several other leaders condoling the loss of lives. The CM has also ordered an inquiry into the accident.

The protestors raised slogans against the state government and demanded Sidhu to resign as minister.

In a video that has gone viral on social media, a stage manager was seen boasting to Navjot Kaur about 5,000 people standing on the railway tracks. The Akali Dal has demanded her husband's (Navjot Singh Sidhu's) resignation. Navjot Singh Sidhu is a senior cabinet minister in the Captain Amarinder Singh government.

The Dussehra event was organised by Saurabh Mithu Madaan, the son of a Congress municipal corporator.

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