A horrific accident in Amritsar shook the nation on Friday, when a train mowed down a huge crowd who were present on the railway tracks, celebrating the festival of Dussehra. The shocking incident took place in Jod Phatak, where the Raavan effigy was being burnt when a fast-moving train ran over the people. In the events following the tragic incident, it was found out that the function was being held without any permission.
Many have pinned the blame on the local authorities and the state government on this matter, and one of those is Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia. Speaking exclusively to Republic TV, he said,
"It's a very tragic and unfortunate incident that has happened of this magnitude. My deepest condolences are with the family members of the who have lost their dear ones. What I have heard from ground zero, what people told me out there, the entire blame rests on the doorsteps of Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu, who happens to be the local body minister, the minister of the area whose own family member was present there when the entire incident unfolded."
The SAD leader further went onto mention that had the chief guest, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, come on time, the accident would not have taken place.
"What people told me out there that had Mrs. Sidhu come on time, this entire incident would not have happened because Dussehra celebration starts at sunset at 5:40-5:50 pm. At 6-6:10 pm, the entire event would have been finished but because she was late, this entire thing carried on till 7:10-7:15 pm. That's when the train came in and the whole accident happened. The entire area knows about it. But because to please her, announcements were being made from the stage 'Madam, look at the number of people, standing on the railway line to get a glimpse of you' and as soon as he said that, 'Boom', there it goes. So it is a total lack of coordination. I don't know how somebody gave the permission to that and I am hoping to see what action is taken or it is swept under the carpet because the organisers happened to be a counselor and Mrs. Sidhu herself, who is a part of the government," he added.
As per an account, the mishap happened after the buring of the Ravana effgy, the Dussehra fire started to spread and people started running for safety trampling each other. That is when they ran towards an onrushing train. Over 60 people are reported have lost their lives at this point, with the number expected to increase.