New Delhi: Punjab Congress leader Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who was the chief guest at the Dussehra celebrations in Amritsar where more than 60 people lost their lives in train accident, has lashed out at local leaders for accusing her of indifference. Terming their allegations ‘shameful’, the former MLA said that she had left the site of the mishap 15 minutes before the incident took place and came to know about the deaths after returning home.
“I called the Police Commissioner and I asked if I should come back, but he said there was way too much chaos. So I decided that I should at least save the ones who were injured, and take them to the hospital for treatment,” a leading portal quoted Navjot Kaur Sidhu as saying. (Also read: Amritsar Footage Shows People Taking Selfies)
Furthermore she added, “Dussehra celebrations are held there every year. People who are doing politics over this incident should be ashamed.” Navjot Kaur Sidhu also blamed the Railways for the incident saying that it was a big mistake by railway authorities. “They should have issued directions to slow down the speed of the train,” she asserted. (Also read: PM Modi Directs Officials to Provide Immediate Assistance)
Her reaction comes after an eyewitness Rajesh Honey, who is also said to be a spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleged that Navjot Kaur Sidhu continued to give a speech as people were struck down by the train.
Meanwhile, State mourning has been declared in Punjab and all offices and educational institutions will remain closed on Saturday, following the accident.
While the initial reports suggested that a train ran over people standing on the tracks to watch the Ravan effigy burn, Railway CPRO said later that the celebrations, which were being held in Amritsar’s Choura Bazar, led to panic when the effigy fell. That sent people running towards the track. Just then, DMU train number 74943 was passing by the closed gate and ran over people.
Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of each deceased and the amount was later supplemented by another Rs 2 lakh by PM Narendra Modi. The CM has also ordered a probe into the accident.