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Ex-India state official: Most train victims migrant workers

A former state government official says most of the casualties of a train disaster that killed dozens in northern India were migrant workers.

R.C. Yadev, former chairman of Punjab state's Workers Welfare Board, said Saturday that many of the 60 killed and dozens injured when a speeding train ran over a crowd celebrating the Hindu festival of Dussehra on Friday night had left their families in neighboring states to work in factories and shops in Punjab.

A local Congress party politician had organized the event at a clearing near the railway tracks on the outskirts of Amritsar. Hundreds were watching the burning of an effigy of the demon Ravana as fireworks went off when two trains crossed the tracks in opposite directions, giving people little opportunity to escape.

A crowd gathers at the site of Friday's train accident in Amritsar, India, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. A speeding train ran over a crowd watching fireworks during a religious festival in northern India on Friday evening, killing more than 50 people and injuring dozens more, police said. (AP PhotoPrabhjot Gill)

A woman cries holding on to her husband during the cremation of her son, who was killed in Friday's train accident, in Amritsar, India, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. A speeding train ran over a crowd watching fireworks during a religious festival in northern India on Friday evening, killing more than 50 people and injuring dozens more, police said. (AP PhotoPrabhjot Gill)

Pyare Das, second right wearing white scarf, takes the help of his nephew to light the funeral pyre of his son, a victim of Friday's train accident in Amritsar, India, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. A speeding train ran over a crowd watching fireworks during a religious festival in northern India on Friday evening, killing more than 50 people and injuring dozens more, police said. (AP PhotoPrabhjot Gill)

A woman cries holding on to her husband during the cremation of her son, who was killed in Friday's train accident, in Amritsar, India, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. A speeding train ran over a crowd watching fireworks during a religious festival in northern India on Friday evening, killing more than 50 people and injuring dozens more, police said. (AP PhotoPrabhjot Gill)

Gurjeet Kumar lights the funeral pyre of his maternal grandfather, who was killed in Friday's train accident, as his mother holds on to him in Amritsar, India, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. A speeding train ran over a crowd watching fireworks during a religious festival in northern India on Friday evening, killing more than 50 people and injuring dozens more, police said. (AP PhotoPrabhjot Gill)

Uday Raj Pandey walks forward to light the funeral pyre of his son, who was killed in Friday's train accident, in Amritsar, India, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. A speeding train ran over a crowd watching fireworks during a religious festival in northern India on Friday evening, killing more than 50 people and injuring dozens more, police said. (AP PhotoPrabhjot Gill)

The funeral pyre of a victim of Friday's train accident goes up in flames in Amritsar, India, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. A speeding train ran over a crowd watching fireworks during a religious festival in northern India on Friday evening, killing more than 50 people and injuring dozens more, police said. (AP PhotoPrabhjot Gill)

Bodies of victims of Friday's train accident are carried in for cremation in Amritsar, India, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. A speeding train ran over a crowd watching fireworks during a religious festival in northern India on Friday evening, killing more than 50 people and injuring dozens more, police said. (AP PhotoPrabhjot Gill)

The body of a victim of Friday's train accident is laid down for cremation in Amritsar, India, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. A speeding train ran over a crowd watching fireworks during a religious festival in northern India on Friday evening, killing more than 50 people and injuring dozens more, police said. (AP PhotoPrabhjot Gill)