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Lightning in Odisha kills 30, injured 35 others

Special Relief Commissioner Pradipta Mohapatra said they had received reports of several deaths due to lightning.

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Lightning. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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  • While the maximum number of eight deaths were reported from Bhadrak district, there were seven casualties in Balasore district and five in Khurda, said police
  • Besides, three deaths were reported in Mayurbhanj and one each in Kendrapara, Jajpur, Keonjhar and Nayagarh, police said, adding details of three deaths are awaited
  • Special Relief Commissioner Pradipta Mohapatra said they had received reports of several deaths due to lightning

At least 30 persons were killed and 35 others injured due to lightning strikes in different parts of Odisha, police said on Saturday.

Lightning in Odisha kills 30. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Lightning in Odisha kills 30. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

While the maximum number of eight deaths were reported from Bhadrak district, there were seven casualties in Balasore district and five in Khurda, said police.

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Besides, three deaths were reported in Mayurbhanj and one each in Kendrapara, Jajpur, Keonjhar and Nayagarh, police said, adding details of three deaths are awaited.

Special Relief Commissioner Pradipta Mohapatra said they had received reports of several deaths due to lightning.

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday expressed his condolences over the deaths of people due to the lightning strikes.

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The Chief Minister also directed the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) to disburse assistance immediately to bereaved families as per the Relief Code. (IANS)

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The Families Of Victims In Railway Accident Incident In India Stage Protests

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the accident a "heart-wrenching tragedy" and asked officials to provide immediate assistance to the injured.

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People gather at the site of an accident after a train traveling at high speed ploughed through a crowd of people on rail tracks near Amritsar, India. VOA

Angry relatives of the scores of people who were killed in India when they were run over by a speeding train staged protests Saturday while one of the country’s railway officials maintains the railway is not responsible for the tragic accident.

The train was traveling at high speed when it ploughed through a crowd Friday at a religious festival on the outskirts of the northern city of Amritsar, killing 59 people, Punjab state’s Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, told reporters Saturday. Singh said 57 others were injured and an official investigation would be carried out over the next four weeks.

The Jalandhar-Amritsar express was traveling at 90 kilometers per hour when it hit the crowd, which had gathered on the tracks to watch a fireworks display marking the Hindu festival of Dussehra.

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The Hindu festival of Dussehra.

Hundreds of relatives of the victims engaged in sporadic protests on and near the tracks Saturday, calling for action against local authorities and the train operator, who was questioned Saturday by police.

Authorities moved the protestors off the tracks and brought in reinforcements to control the crowd.

‘No lapse on our part’

The railway accident was India’s worst in years, but the junior minister who manages Indian Railways, the world’s fourth largest rail system, refused to accept responsibility.

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A man mourns next to the burning pyre of a family member who died after a train traveling at high speed ploughed through a crowd of people, at a cremation site in Amritsar, India. VOA

“Railways cannot be blamed. Railways were not informed about the ceremony,” Manoj Sinha told reporters Saturday. Speaking to reporters, Sinha ruled out any punitive action against his staff, saying, “There was no lapse on our part and no action against the driver will be initiated.”

Local government officials said the festival takes place every year on the outskirts of Amritsar and that railroad authorities are alerted to run the trains at slow speeds.

Witnesses said the victims did not realize the train was coming because of the sound of the fireworks and celebrations.

‘Heart-wrenching’

Some witnesses said the train did not sound its whistle as it sped past the festival site.

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With India, Indian Railway is also digitizing, Pixels

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the accident a “heart-wrenching tragedy” and asked officials to provide immediate assistance to the injured.

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India’s railway network remains the main form of travel in the vast country, where railway accidents are relatively common.

Millions of Hindus celebrate the Dussehra festival by burning giant effigies of the demon Ravana, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil. (VOA)