A speeding train has run over a crowd watching fireworks during a religious festival in northern India, killing at least 60 people, police said.
The train failed to stop after the accident on the outskirts of Amritsar, a city in Punjab state, according to Congress party politician Pratap Singh Bajw.
Railway police officer Sukhwinder Singh said on Saturday that the death toll had risen to 60. Another 50 people have been injured and hospitalised.
A witness said the train had not even sounded its whistle as it sped past the site, where hundreds were watching the burning of an effigy of the demon king Ravana during the Hindu festival of Dussehra.
“Why did authorities allow the fireworks display so close to the railroad?” he asked. He told the Republic TV channel that he had lost two brothers.
Another witness said the victims had not realised that a train was coming their way because the fireworks were too loud.
Navjot Kaur Sidhu, a local Congress party politician who was the chief guest at the religious function, said the celebrations take place in the area every year and railroad authorities are alerted to run the trains at slow speeds.
She said there are homes on both sides of the track.
Following the accident, people rushed to the site and shouted at railway officials. The site of the accident is nearly 290 miles (465km) north of New Delhi.
At least 50 injured were admitted to a government-run hospital, according to Rajesh Sharma, a magistrate, who was quoted by the Press Trust of India.
As the effigy was lit and the fireworks started at the religious function, a section of the crowd started moving towards the tracks while watching the event.
Although accidents are relatively common in India’s sprawling rail network, this was among the country’s deadliest in recent years.
In 2016, 146 people were killed when a train derailed in eastern India.
This story originally appeared in The Guardian. Image courtesy of Prabhjot Gill/AP.