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Amritsar train tragedy: Police resort to force to remove protesters from railway tracks

New Delhi/ Amritsar: Over 40 hours after the shocking accident in Amritsar in which 59 Dussehra revellers were mowed down by a train, protesters were cleared off the tracks and services resumed on Sunday afternoon, a railway spokesperson said. The railways got the clearance from local authorities at 12:30 pm, the spokesperson said.

"The first goods train started from Manawala to Amritsar at 2:16 PM," said Northern Railways spokesperson Deepak Kumar. This train would be followed by mail/express trains, he said. Senior Divisional Security Commissioner (Railways), Firozpur Division, S Sudharkar said, "Train services have resumed on the affected rail track (Joda Phatak). A goods train was allowed to run on this track."

Despite resumption of train services, the railways cancelled 17 trains , short-terminated 14 and diverted seven on Sunday. Earlier in the day, the Punjab Police removed the protesters from the tracks who were staging a sit-in.

When they were removed, the agitated protestors resorted to stone-pelting and clashed with security personnel, officials said. A Punjab Police commando and a photojournalist were injured during the clash, they said.

The Punjab Police has deployed its personnel, including commandoes, to manage the crowd. The Rapid Action Force is also present in the Joda Patak area, officials said. The district administration has said that out of 59 people who were mowed down by the speeding Jalandhar-Amritsar train Friday, 40 have been identified.

On Friday evening, a gathering of more than 300 people were on the tracks to watch the burning of a Ravana effigy when the speeding train struck leaving 59 dead and scores injured. The first goods train started from Manawala to Amritsar at 1416 hours, Northern Railways spokesperson Deepak Kumar said, adding this is being followed by mail/express trains.

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