New Delhi: Even though the authorities are trying to pick up pieces on the Amritsar train tragedy, in which nearly 60 people were killed, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) core committee on Sunday demanded the immediate sacking of Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. The committee also demanded the registration of a murder case against his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who was the chief guest at the event, and the organisers of the Dussehra event.
The organisers of the Dussehra event on the Dhobi Ghat ground had taken a permission from the police but didn’t inform the railways. Railways also denied granting them any permission for the same saying: “In fact, the Commissioner (Amritsar) in his report has said he has not granted permission to hold the Dusshera festival at the spot.” Soon after, the Amritsar Municipal Corporation also said that it was not asked for any permission for the event.
The Congress leader refused to react to the SAD’s demands for his dismissal and lodging of an FIR against his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu over the Amritsar train accident on Dussehra. SAD had made the demands as Sidhu’s wife had allegedly presided over an “unauthorised” Dussehra event close to a railway track near Joda Phatak with a speeding train tearing through a crowd of spectators spilling over the track and mowing down nearly 60 of them.
In a curt reply to media’s questions on SAD’s demands, Sidhu said, “Anything else, anything else, anything else… No comments.” Describing the incident as a massacre, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal sought Sidhu’s dismissal from the cabinet. Senior Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia accused Navjot Kaur Sidhu of running away from the mishap site, alleging that she had left the venue without bothering for the victims.
Majithia also claimed that the burning of the Ravana effigy was delayed as Sidhu’s wife who was the chief guest was running late for the event. Rajesh Honey, a spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who was also present at the Dhobi Ghat ground when the incident happened, on Saturday alleged that Navjot Kaur continued to give a speech even when many people were struck down by the train.
Rejecting the claims and lashing out at the BJP leader, the Congress leader said that she had left the grounds 15 minutes before the incident took place and came to know about the deaths after returning home. Sidhu further said that she left for the hospital as soon as she was intimidated of the tragedy. She had also claimed that being a doctor herself, she had even personally treated some of the victims, besides arranging for some more doctors to attend on them.
Defending his wife, Navjot Singh Sidhu said, “I fought elections from here because of my wife. She has been working here. Last night, when accusations were being levelled against her, she was with patients. She called me up yesterday. She came to know of the incident before reaching home,” Sidhu had said on Saturday, adding the tragedy should not be given a “political colour”.