After the horrific tragedy in Amritsar where 62 people were killed by a train while they were standing on railway track witnessing the burning of the effigy of Ravan, Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu are facing the ire of victims. Navjot Kaur was the chief guest at the event, and it is alleged that she escaped from the scene just after the incident. Moreover, the organiser of the event was Saurabh Madaan Mitthu, son of local congress councillor Vijay Madaan who reportedly belongs to the Sidhu camp.
To deflect the blame, Sidhu is trying to put the entire blame of the incident on Railways. Yesterday, he has questioned why the driver of the train was given clean chit by Railways so soon. Today, he has come up with another statement, alleging that authorities are trying to shield the driver and his name is not being revealed. He also said that Railway engine, police, guards, track belong to centre, implying that centre is to blame for the incident and organisers and state govt is not responsible. He also asked how is it possible that the guards didn’t see the approaching train.
But the allegations made by Sidhu are not true. It is false that the identity of the driver has not been revealed. On 21st October, Railways authorities had released the statement submitted by the driver regarding the incident, and it was also revealed that his name is Arvind Kumar.
Going by the video of the incident, it was clear that people were standing on railway tracks, and organisers didn’t take any effort in removing them from there. In fact, the organisers were seen encouraging people to stand on the tracks, as one sycophant speaker was heard saying that even if 500 trains pass by, 5000 people will keep standing on the tracks to listen to Navjot Kaur Sidhu.
It is a known fact that trains need quite a distance to stop, they can’t be stopped in few meters like cars. It was also reported that the organisers of the event didn’t inform railways about the event, therefore there was no restriction on movement of trains on those tracks. The driver in his statement says that suddenly he saw people on track and applied the emergency brake, but the train didn’t stop immediately. It took some time for the train to stop, and it was too late by then. After that when the train had almost come to a halt, people started pelting stones at the train. To protect the passengers, he decided to not stop and proceeded to Amritsar station.
To say that someone from Railway should have seen people on the track and stop the train is nothing but an attempt to avoid taking responsibility. When such a large gathering has taken near an active railway track, and when people are standing on the tracks, it was the responsibility of the organisers to request them to move away from tracks, and inform the railway authorities. Instead, they encouraged people to keep standing on tracks, and now trying to put the entire blame on the driver who was driving the train as per signals on the signalling system.
We are not sure what Sidhu means by guards, the guard of a train is stationed at the last coach of the train, or at the guard van that is attached at the end of the train, and there is no way the guard could have seen the people on track.