Amritsar (Punjab): Saurabh Madan Mithoo, the organiser of the Dussehra event in which at least 59 died after a train ran over the people standing on the railway tracks, released a video on Monday and alleged that some people are trying to defame him by making claims that he was aware of people standing on the railway tracks to watch the Ravana effigy burn and yet did little about it. The location from where the video has been sent by the organiser has not been known. Also Read - Bharat Bandh: 'Rail Roko' in Punjab, Blockades in Haryana as India Witnesses Farmer Protest Over Farm Bills | Top Points
In the video, Mithoo claimed that he had warned the crowd against standing on the railway tracks. He also claimed that he had taken all the permissions to organise the event on the Dhobi Ghat ground close to the railway tracks. “Had taken all permissions, had alerted crowd at least 10 times to not stand on tracks. I am extremely pained by the incident. Some people are trying to defame me,” he said. Also Read - Bharat Bandh Today: Punjab, UP And Maharashtra | List of States Likely to be Affected by Farmers' Unions Strike
Earlier, a video from the event was released in which Madan 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.
Another video showed him boasting about 5000 standing on the track “for chief guest Navjot Kaur Sidhu”. “Madam look here! These people don’t care about standing on the tracks. Even if 500 trains pass by, over 5000 will be standing here for you,” he allegedly said.
Punjab Congress leader Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who was also the chief guest at the Dussehra event, had also claimed that several calls were made to the people asking them to come inside the ground and occupy the empty seats but no one paid heed.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Sidhu said that there was no stampede and no chances of chaos happening as the Ravan effigy was tied securely. “There were vacant seats at Dhobi Ghat ground. Ravan was tied securely and 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.
Regarding Mithoo’s claims that as an organiser for the event, he had taken all the permissions, the railways and the Amritsar Municipal Corporation have claimed that no permission was taken from them. “Nobody was given the permission for organising the Dussehra event. Moreover, nobody had applied for the permission with the Amritsar Municipal Corporation,” commissioner Sonali Giri said.