Nitish Blames Puja Organizers in Amritsar for Train Tragedy

The site of train accident near Amritsar that left many dead and injured.

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Patna: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday blamed the Dussehra organizers in Amritsar for the deaths of nearly 60 persons, including many women and children, when they were mowed over by a speeding train while watching the 'Ravan Vadh' fireworks while standing on a railway track.

"If the organizers had taken necessary precautions, this tragedy wouldn't have happened. They knew the event was taking place near a busy railway track and yet they did not do anything to warn the revelers. When a stampede occurs, people don't know which way to run and there's no such feature in a locomotive that would automatically trigger a mechanism to stop the train," he said.

The accident took place near Jodha Phatak near Amritsar involving a train coming from Jalandhar on Friday evening. As reported, most of the victims were migrant workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Besides 59 confirmed deaths, at least 74 were hurt in the incident and had to be transported to hospitals in Amritsar.

Train services were suspended on this line on Saturday as family members searched for their missing loved ones.

Sources said the Bihar government has asked a high-level enquiry into the tragedy so those responsible for the safety negligence could be brought to justice.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh announced an ex gratia payment of Rs. 5 lakh to the victims' families and free medical treatment to injured in government and private hospitals.

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