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Angry mob pelts stones at police at site of Amritsar rail accident

People gather at the site of an accident after a commuter train traveling at high speed ran through a crowd of people on the rail tracks in Amritsar

An angry mob threw stones at police on Sunday near the site of a deadly railway accident Amritsar

AMRITSAR, India – An angry mob threw stones at police on Sunday near the site of a deadly railway accident in north India, demanding immediate financial compensation for the families of the victims and government jobs for those who lost wage-earners.

A group of about 100 people staged the protest in Amritsar where a train ploughed through a crowd gathered to watch the burning of effigies and a fireworks display on Friday as part of the Dussehra festival, killing 59.

Many of the victims were either on the railway tracks or near them and did not hear the commuter train coming in the noise of the crackers and giant effigies burning in the darkness, witnesses and officials said.

Relatives of the victims have turned on the railways for allowing the train to go through when there were scores of people near the tracks. The railways said they were not informed about the plans and that people should not have been standing near the tracks.

On Sunday, relatives and locals gathered at the accident site and began throwing stones at police, saying there was no help coming for the grief-stricken families.

“Down with the government,” a youth shouted, while others lunged towards police constables guarding the site, where an inquiry has been ordered.

“They should give the close relatives of the dead and the injured government jobs. They should also make sure they get the compensation quickly. Nobody has received anything till now,” said Ravinder, one of the protesters who only gave his first name.

Police charged at the stone pelting mob with sticks to disperse them.

Amarinder Singh, the chief minister of Punjab, the state where the accident took place, announced compensation of 500,000 rupees ($6,815) for those who lost family members and free treatment for those injured in the accident.

But such compensation often takes months or even longer in reaching the families.