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Rediff.com  » News » Gateman should've alerted the train driver: Navjot Kaur Sidhu

Gateman should've alerted the train driver: Navjot Kaur Sidhu

October 20, 2018 20:15 IST

IMAGE: Navjot Kaur Sidhu comes out of a hospital after enquiring about the well being of train accident victims in Amritsar. Photograph: PTI Photo

Former minister Navjot Kaur Sidhu said on Saturday the gateman responsible for closing the railway barrier could have alerted the driver to slow down the train as several people were standing on the rail tracks.

Sidhu was the chief guest of the Dussehra celebrations held near Joda Phatak in Amritsar where 59 revellers were mowed down by a train.

She was accused of leaving the site of accident without bothering about the victims.

She said several announcements were made from the stage at the event, requesting people to come inside the Dhobi ghat to watch the burning effigies.

The railway man who was responsible for closing the barrier should have seen that Dusshera event was being held there, she said.

 

"Could he not see the train coming and the people standing on the railway track? He was there on the spot. He could have alerted the driver to slow down the train.

"People were just looking at Ravana's effigy being burnt. They were not seeing that a train was coming," Sidhu told reporters in Amritsar.

She said people should not indulge in a blame game over the tragedy.

She said Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had already ordered a probe and after four weeks, everyone would come to know who was at fault.

Sidhu said before she went on the dais, four to five announcements were made from the stage, urging people not to stand on railway tracks.

"They were told that there was enough space at the Dhobi Ghat ground and they could come there but the people did not listen to the requests," said Sidhu.

To a question on the permissions granted for the event, Sidhu said she had seen two to three permissions which were obtained by the organiser.

She said the Dusshera event had been held there for the last 40 years.

To a query, she said she was just 15 minutes late in attending the function. Sidhu said when she came to know about the incident she immediately went to the hospital to see the patients.

"I even arranged doctors so the injured gets treatment. Being a doctor, I provided medical treatment to some of them," she said.

The Opposition on Friday had targeted Navjot Kaur Sidhu, a former MLA and wife of Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, claiming she allegedly left the venue without bothering the victims.

The Bharatiya Janata Party demanded her arrest along with the organiser of the celebrations.

'(Navjot Kaur) Sidhu's lie that she was not aware of the people standing on the railway tracks is exposed. She is repeatedly being told, according to new video evidence, that there are people on the tracks and even if the trains arrive, nothing will happen to them,' senior BJP leader Rajinder Mohan Singh Chinna said in a statement.

He said the inquiry ordered into the incident by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was a 'mere eyewash'.

He alleged that Navjot Kaur Sidhu and Navjot Singh Sidhu were telling 'one lie after another'.

The families who have lost their loved ones have been ruined and the Sidhus are trying to save themselves, Chinna said, adding that the incident was a 'major administrative failure'.

"The organisers seemed to have no regard for the law and the rules," he said.

He claimed that a video of the incident showed the organisers goading the people to stay on the railway track to appease Navjot Kaur Sidhu.

"Words are not enough to mourn the Amritsar train tragedy that claimed so many innocent lives. The incident needs to be probed as it casts a serious question on administration," he said.

The BJP leader said responsibility must be fixed from the top of the administration and not from the bottom.

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