Amritsar (Punjab): Punjab minister and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu Monday declared that he will adopt the families of the ones who died in Amritsar train tragedy for the rest of his life. Addressing a press conference, Sidhu said, “I will take care of them for the rest of my life.” The Congress leader has been attacked by the opposition since the incident since his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu attended the Dussehra event which was organised by his close aides from the ruling Congress. Sidhu drew flak when he described the accident as a “natural disaster” in which 61 people died.
While the SAD has been demanding “immediate sacking” of Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Punjab minister has attacked the railways for giving a clean chit to the driver of the train and other staff within six hours of the Amritsar train tragedy. “How can the railways give a clean chit to its driver and other staff without even conducting a probe? Why was the train hurtling down at such great speed? Why didn’t the gateman inform the train driver that hundreds of people were standing on the tracks and tell him to slow down?” Sidhu asked.
The driver of the train has however claimed innocence saying he did apply the brakes but decided against it since the crowd had started stone pelting. “I saw a crowd of people around the track. I immediately applied emergency brakes while continuously blowing the horn. Still, some people came under it. The train was about to stop when people started pelting stones, so I started the train for the safety of the passengers,” he said.
Navjot Singh Sidhu’s wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu has been under fire from the families who lost their loved ones, local residents and political opponents since she was the chief guest at the event. A BJP spokesperson, who was present at the Dussehra event, claimed that Navjot Kaur left the venue soon after the incident. The allegations have been rejected by the Congress leader. She said that she was informed of the incident 15 minutes after she left the venue. Sidhu on Monday defended her claims.