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  Wednesday, October 28, 2020
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Two passenger trains collided head-on in northern India on Tuesday
Two passenger trains collided head-on in northern India on Tuesday, killing at least 27 people and injuring 60, officials said. Several coaches went off the tracks when the Jammu Tawi express crashed into a local train near Mukerian town in Punjab state at about noon, they said. "There was chaos, people were screaming. Someone had broken a leg, others were lying near the derailed coaches with blood running down their heads," area resident Shyam Babbar told Reuters by phone. "I saw smashed bodies in the damaged coaches. There was a woman and a small child next to her. Both were dead," he said, says ABC News. A "communications snag" between stationmasters at two stations apparently caused the crash, with an express train and a local train allowed to travel toward each other on the same track, said Dharam Singh, the top railway official in the area. "I don't consider it an accident. It is nothing less than a brutal murder," federal Railways Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav told reporters at the site, speaking through a megaphone in front of the wreckage. He said at least 31 people were dead. The two stationmasters, as well as an engineer who allegedly did not prevent the two trains from moving on the same track, had been fired and would face criminal charges of culpable homicide, Yadav said. The accident highlighted blind spots in India's huge train network, often criticized for poor safety standards, informs the Guardian. Indian Railways officials say a communications problem between stationmasters meant an express train and a local train were cleared to use the same track at the same time. Both stationmasters have been fired and could be charged with culpable homicide. "The cause of the accident is not known," Prasad told parliament before leaving for the crash site. "The guilty will be punished after the reason is known," he said. India has more than 107,000 kilometres of track running through the country and collisions are the main cause of train accident deaths, reports CBC News
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