The people who were mowed down reportedly could not hear the train coming due to the exploding crackers.
At least 300 people were at the spot watching "Ravana dahan" at a ground near the tracks.
"The people were sitting on and near the tracks on the outskirts of Amritsar watching the burning of effigies as part of the Dussehra festival when a commuter train ran over them", a police officer told Reuters.
The Press Trust of India quoted eyewitnesses as saying that two trains arrived from the opposite direction at the same time giving little opportunity to people to escape.
The dead include many children say the witnesses. The incident took place at Joda Fatak level crossing where Dusshera celebrations were underway.
Pratap Singh Bajwa, a local party leader, has said there are at least 50 casualties.
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Bystanders rushed around the bodies and police tried to carry away the injured.
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh expressed shock and grief over the incident and asked all the government and private hospitals to remain open.
"The tragedy is heart-wrenching", he tweeted. Revenue Minister Sukhbinder Sarkaria has been deputed to immediately reach Amritsar to oversee rescue operations.
President Ram Nath Kovind offered condolences.
Following the train mishap, Prime Minister Narendra Modi directed officials to take all possible measures to provide immediate assistance. The state government has also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to kin of the deceased. CM to visit Amritsar tomorrow to access the situation. Speaking to Zee News, eyewitnesses blamed the administration for not taking adequate precautionary measures.