During the festival of Dussehra people all over the country set aflame large effigies of a 10-headed demon from the Hindu epic Ramayana in a ceremony that symbolizes the triumph of good over evil.
As the effigy was lit and the fireworks started, a section of the crowd started retreating towards the railway while observing the event.
Amritsar Police Commissioner SS Shrivastava on Sunday confirmed that the police permission was granted for organising Dussehra event at Dhobi Ghat ground, where the unfortunate train accident took place that killed as many as 59 people in Amritsar. The train driver, who has been detained by the police, said he got the all-clear signal and had no idea that hundreds of people were standing on the tracks when the train crossed the area, news agency IANS reported.
"I've been seeing this event every Dusshera from here and this has never happened before, the railways should have stopped or slowed down the train", said Deep Kumari, who watched the festival from the terrace of her house.
Officials said the state has made a decision to observe a mourning on Saturday in wake of the incident.
But almost every month there are accidents involving trains that derail or hit vehicles on crossings.
The Punjab government has declared state mourning on Saturday and a probe has been ordered.
He said officials would do "everything possible" to assist the injured.
Unfortunately, at that very same time, the Jalandhar-Amritsar DMU was passing through the populated spot.
There are fears that the death toll will rise further.
An eyewitness said no alarm was raised when the train was approaching and blamed the administration.
At the same time, local municipal corporation councillor Vijay Madan and her son Sourabh Madan Mithu, the main organisers of the Dussehra celebration in Amritsar, have gone underground with other family members.
The committee also passed a resolution seeking Rs 1-crore compensation and a government job to one member of each family of the victims.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the incident as "heart-wrenching". I pray for the injured to recover quickly. "Have asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required", he said in his twitter post.
"Shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic train incident that occurred in Amritsar".
Condolences have been pouring in from across the world to the families of the victims of the Amritsar train tragedy.
According to media reports, the driver told police he did not see the revellers until the last second because he had come around a bend in the dark into the firework smoke.
The Commission of Railway Safety works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and conducts a mandatory inquiry into all railway accidents - at unmanned level crossings, derailments or after a bridge collapse.
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