Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA from Punjab has stirred a massive controversy by stating that the recent train accident in Amritsar, which has taken the lives of over 60 people, as a 'small incident' before adding that such incidents take place every now and then in Punjab.
When asked about the recent tragic accident, Sukhpal Khaira said, "A news has come of 60 people dying in a train accident in Amritsar. It has created a focus of attention. All the media, people from across the country have reached there and are trying to help. But I would like to say, these kind of small incidents happen everyday in India, especially Punjab. In Punjab, on an average, 8-10 people die everyday in road accidents. Almost 5000, it may be more, die in road accidents in Punjab every year."
The train accident in Amritsar took place on Friday evening, when a train mowed down hundreds of people who were standing on the tracks while they were attending a Dussehra function. Investigations into the matter revealed that the organizers of the event did not take permission from the proper authorities, and the railways weren't informed about the event.
MoS Railways, Manoj Sinha revealed in an exclusive to Republic revealed that no prior information was given to the authorities.
"Railway did not have information about the celebration. I spoke to the railway officials, they did not know. It is the responsibility of the local administration, who should be careful about such events," he said.
Navjot Kaur Sidhu, wife of Congress leader and Punjab MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu, was the chief guest of the function. There was a lot of anger amongst the crowd present on the location against her, with many eye-witnesses stating that she left the place minutes after the accident took place. Though, she tried to pass the blame on the Railways before claiming that she had left the event prior to the incident taking place.
"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 added.
But investigation by Republic TV exposed the irregularities in her statement. The three exclusive CCTV footages accessed contradicts the statements by Navjot Kaur's about her whereabouts when the accident took place.
At 6.40 pm, Navjot Kaur Sidhu can be seen entering the event venue with an entourage. Fourteen minutes later, that is at 6.54 pm, Ravan effigy was set on fire. A minute later, the accident takes place, in which the train mows down around 60 people. In the next footage of around the same time as that of the accident, a commotion can be seen at the spot and two minutes later, Navjot Kaur Sidhu can be seen leaving the venue.