Amritsar (Punjab): Congress leader Saurabh Madaan, who had organised the Dussehra event in Amritsar’s Dhobi Ghar ground where nearly 60 died after a train ran over the people standing on the tracks watching ‘Ravan Dahan’, was aware of the people standing and had even warned the crowd against standing on the railway tracks.
In an audio, Madaan could be heard joking about people standing on the railway tracks and asking them to move away. “People who are standing at the railway tracks are aware of the schedule of the trains. They know which train will arrive at what time. Still, trains will not ask you before arriving. So we have to be careful,” he was heard saying.
Congress leader Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who was the chief guest at the Amritsar Dussehra event and has been accused by the BJP for continuing to give a speech even when many people were struck down by the train, claimed that several calls were made to move the crowd away from the railway tracks.
She claimed that the people were called to come inside the Dhobi Ghat ground and occupy the empty seats but no one paid any heed. “There were vacant seats at Dhobi Ghat ground. Ravan was tied securely & there were no chances of it falling down and creating chaos. There was no stampede. Announcements were made 4-5 times asking people to come inside Dhobi Ghat ground,” she said.
However, in another audio, which was accessed by a leading portal, Madaan was heard encouraging and boasting about the people standing on the tracks “for Navjot Kaur Sidhu”. “Madam look here! These people don’t care about standing on the tracks. Even if 500 trains pass by, 5000 will be standing here for you,” he allegedly said.
Meanwhile, protests staged by residents here against the Punjab government and the railways after 59 people were killed when a train crushed them as they were watching Dusshera celebrations, turned violent on Sunday leaving a few policemen injured following stone-pelting. The protesters were demanding action against organisers of the Dusshera function.