At least 50 dead as train hits crowd watching fireworks in India

At least 50 feared dead after being hit by train in India

At least 50 people were killed Friday evening after a crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching burning of Ravana effigy was run over by a train near Amritsar in Punjab, officials said.

Pratap Singh Bajwa said the victims crowded the rail track on the outskirts of Amritsar, a city in Punjab state.

When it reached Joda Bazaar it crushed people who had gathered on the railway track to watch the burning of the effigies of Kumbhkarna, Meghnaad, and Ravana on the occasion of Dussehra.

The train reportedly did not stop following the accident, which also saw a number of people taken to hospital.

The toll is expected to rise over 100. The CM said he was heading for Amritsar to supervise rescue and relief operations.

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Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu's wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu was the chief guest at the annual Dussehra celebrations at Chowra Bazaar. The train was en route to Amritsar from Jalandhar.

"The tragedy is heart-wrenching".

President Ram Nath Kovind offered condolences. He said he asked officials concerned to provide immediate assistance. He tweeted, "My government will give Rs. 5 lakh to kin of each deceased and free treatment to injured in government and private hospitals". "District authorities have been mobilised on war footing", Singh tweeted.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he was "pained beyond words" at the loss of lives in the tragedy. Another bystander said, "The Congress had organised Dussehra celebrations here without permission". The Minister of State for Railways is Manoj Sinha is rushing to the accident spot.

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