#AmritsarTrainTragedy: Man, who played Ravana, dies; eyewitnesses recall horror

Shalini Ojha


#AmritsarTrainTragedy: Man, who played Ravana, dies; eyewitnesses recall horror

20 Oct 2018: #AmritsarTrainTragedy: Man, who played Ravana, dies; eyewitnesses recall horror

In the train tragedy near Amritsar, which killed at least 60 and injured 71, the man who played Ravana also lost his life, ANI reports.

Dalbir Singh essayed the role of Ravana in the Ramleela. He has an eight-month-old baby and his grieving mother demanded a government job for her daughter-in-law.

A train mowed over people reveling in Dussehra celebrations making it this year's worst train tragedy.

What happened: While Ravana's effigy was burning, train ran over people

The incident took place at Joda Phatak near Amritsar where revelers were watching 'Ravan-dahan' in a ground close to the track and a train, coming from Jalandhar, ran over them.

Reportedly, stunned spectators didn't realize what happened till the 74643 Jalandhar-Amritsar DMU flashed past them.

Those who rushed to the adjacent track to save themselves were reportedly run over by 13006 Amritsar-Howrah Express.

Fact: Grieving mother wants job for daughter-in-law

Horror : Eyewitness claims driver didn't sound horn, another blames administration

The eyewitnesses were in disbelief as the celebration turned tragic. The train left behind dismembered bodies and wailing people.

An eyewitness alleged the train driver didn't blow the horn, while another woman cried inconsolably as she had lost her son.

Yet another eyewitness blamed the administration and Railways. "They should have made sure that the train halts or slow down," he said.

Details: Since chief guest arrived late, event was delayed, says another

Mintoo, a migrant laborer told HT, they didn't see the train as it was dark. "Everyone was watching the effigy in flames when the train suddenly appeared. Families have been wiped out," he said.

Padam Singh Dhingra, a businessman, said the event was supposed to begin at 6:15 PM.

It got delayed as Chief Guest Navjot Kaur Sidhu, wife of MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu, arrived late.

Fact: In just 10-15 seconds, many died: Eyewitness

"It took just about 10-15 seconds for the train to pass and leave behind a heap of crushed and dismembered bodies," an eyewitness said. Another eyewitness, Vicky Thakur, said the area was not suitable to hold such a huge crowd.

Railways' stand: Railway officials call it clear case of trespassing

A senior Railway official told PTI the incident was a clear case of trespassing and no permission regarding the event was sought from them. He added local administration should take responsibility.

"We weren't kept in the loop and we provided no permission for the event," he said.

When asked why the driver didn't halt despite seeing people, the official said smoke affected his vision.