Navjot Kaur Sidhu, the wife of Punjab Minister and Amritsar East MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu,has spoken to reporters at the Amritsar hospital where those injured in the horrific train mishap have been rushed.
"We will be here with the injured the entire night, until we identify each person. It is very shocking that, despite the police presence and organisation, such a mishap happened. Now we don't know," Sidhu, who was the Chief guest at the Dussehra celebration said giving an idea of the extent of causalities who were run over by a speeding train, while watching the Raavan effigy burning.
"Now they are informing us that the railways did not slow down the train. The people were comfortably taking selfies on the track. I did not understand what happened. The function proceeded peacefully and I left in my vehicle. I got a call 15 minutes later informing about the incident," she said.
Numerous eye witness have raised questions over her involvement in the event, for which permission was allegedly not taken. She justified the event saying, "Celebration takes place here each year. Did we make anyone sit on the track? Or did we pull the train over the people? They are people from our locality. We are working hard to identify each person. The people involving politics into this should be shamed of themselves. I think Captain has announced Rs 5 lakh each in ex gratia."
Further speaking about the Dussehra celebrations that are held every year, she said,"When we called the railways, they said that the Phatak was open and every year a warning is given .The Raavan effigy was being burned at six places and all of them are close to railways. They should have slowed down the train, where the celebrations were taking place. Instead the trains were running in full speed."
Regarding the train mishap, Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh issued a statement in which he said that the state government has accepted the Centre's offer of help and eight SDRF and six NDRF Disaster response force Teams are on their way to the accident site. The Chief Minister tweeted,
In another statement the Punjab CM said that he will be reaching Amritsar by Saturday morning.
At the time of publishing, over 50 people are feared dead, as per the local police.