Update at 3:58 pm: This is an unpardonable negligence. Organizers are the main culprit. Strong actions should be taken against the mass massacre. This is not an act of god. They organized it without permission. There is a cover up going on: SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal
Update at 3:52 pm: SAD chief and former Punjab CM Sukhbir Singh Badal visits the accident site where over 60 people lost their lives on Friday.
Update at 2.06 pm: Republic TV accesses local authorities' letter which proves police gave permission to organise events near railway track.
Not naming or blaming anyone for the tragic train accident which took place at Joda Phatak in Amritsar on Friday, Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh on Saturday called for a magisterial probe into the incident, while maintaining that nothing can be said about this matter till the enquiry is completed.
Flooded by reporters on his first press conference since the horrific accident, the Congress stalwart was attacked with a plethora of questions, most of which pertained to his late arrival at the scene and what action will be taken.
Speaking to the media, the Congress CM stated that a magisterial enquiry has been set-up, and within four weeks, the answer to how such a large scale accident took place will be given. He said,
"We have a ministerial committee, 3 ministers will stay here and look after the situation. We have identified most of the bodies except for 9. It's necessary for an enquiry for the reason behind the mishap. We are announcing magisterial enquiry under commissioner and in four weeks there will be a report. Government of India and Railways are doing their own enquiry, we will do our own. We have established a helpline number also."
Early investigation into the incident revealed that the function was held without taking permission from the proper authorities. Further, the event was hosted by a close aide of Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, with his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu being the chief guest of the event.
There has been a lot of fingers pointed towards the two, especially Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who had arrived at the function late, and left the event as soon as the accident took place, according to the eye-witnesses.
Sidhu, earlier in the day, stoked controversy with his comments on the incident. But Capt Amarinder, far from pointing fingers at him, defended his cabinet minister while reiterating his demand of waiting for the magisterial report.
"It's a terrible tragedy we all accept it. He (Sidhu) may have said it in a different way, but everyone, including him is deeply sad by it. We are putting an enquiry, I cannot pre-judge an enquiry. It will decide who is the culprit, who is not, who got permission, who gave permission. I say four weeks to reach conclusion," he added.
Throughout the press briefing, the Punjab CM was also questioned on his delayed arrival at the scene of the accident. The incident had taken place on Friday evening, while the CM landed in the state earlier this morning.
While for most parts, he declined to be drawn into this issue, Capt Amarinder Singh at the end of his statement gave a meek reply to never-ending question.
"Our administration has been handling the situation all night, my administration has been handling the situation all night from Chandigarh. To feel every VIP should land up here, forgetting about the tragedy and looking at VIP security is not right. We came as fast as I could come. Governor came here last night. Other ministers arrived fast. Everyone has done their best, the entire cabinet of Punjab is here. They've all come to assist in this," he spoke before ending his press briefing.