Amidst the ongoing fury of people regarding the horrific train accident in Amritsar on Friday, which has put the state government and local authorities under a lot of pressure, Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has admitted that there was 'negligence', though reiterated his party's stance that the incident was an 'unfortunate accident'.
Speaking to the media a day after the tragic event took place, which has seen over 60 people lose their lives till now, the Congress leader said, "No one has done this on purpose. It was negligence and when I say negligence, many would have still not understood their responsibility. But no one intended to do it. It was no one's motive. And the other thing is that many a times, man feels helpless in front of god's will. "
After initial investigation, it was found out that no permission was seeked for Dussehra function which was taking place at the Joda Phatak crossing. Sidhu's wife, Navjot Kaur Sidhu was the chief guest of the function and she has been heavily critcized by the onlookers, who have claimed she rushed from the spot the moment accident happened.
Akali Dal also blamed Navjot Kaur Sidhu for the mishap, stating 'had she arrived on time for the function, accident wouldn't have taken place'. But Navjot Singh Sidhu has come out in the defence of his wife, calling for 'politics to be not played' on this matter.
"But I say, this is not the time to point fingers because no one has done this on purpose. Please understand one thing, if I have fought the election from here it's because of my wife. She does all the ground work. Even last night, when allegations were levelled against here, she was at the hospital with the injured. She told me, I'm here. She was informed of the tragedy a little before she reached home. In fact, I spoke to her only once when she said, 'I'm here'. Those levelling allegations will do so, but the point is, don't give this tragedy a political angle. This is an accident. No one has done anything on purpose. So don't level wrong allegations, don't play politics over it," he added.
Finally, the former cricketer-turned politician mentioned that people did not realize the incoming train, and were mowed over because the train did not blow the horn. "Some senior citizens said, that when the fireworks started it was a natural reaction to move some steps backwards. In fact some of them were standing on the tracks as well. They said, that it was a natural instinct to step behind and the train was speeding towards them at more than 100 miles per hour without honking," he further said.