A day after the tragic train accident that took place in Amritsar which has taken lives of 60 people so far, Republic TV has accessed videos from the Dussehra event where the incident took place on Friday.
Just minutes before the tragedy, chief guest of the Dussehra event, Navjot Kaur Sidhu can be seen being welcomed with garlands and mementos by the organizers. In another video, she can be seen giving a speech at the podium at the event with her close aide and organizers standing by her side.
"Let 500 trains pass by, but you will still witness more than 5000 people waiting for you on the tracks", said the host of the event in the video accessed by Republic TV.
Earlier on Friday evening, Navjot Kaur Sidhu stated that she had left the function before the accident took place, contrary to the statements of eyewitnesses and a few political leaders.
"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.
Investigations into the matter revealed that permission for the event, which took place in the site near a railway track, was not taken. In her defense, the former Punjab MLA stated that celebrations take place on that particular location every year and the people who are joining the tragic incident with politics should be ashamed of themselves.
“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. I think Captain has announced Rs 5 lakh each in ex gratia,” she added.
While Navjot Kaur Sidhu claimed that she left the accident site before the tragedy took place, former CM of the state, Parkash Singh Badal has pinned the blame on the organizers and chief guest of the event.
Speaking exclusively to Republic TV on this matter, the ex-SAD President said, "From the situation, I have seen, the organizers of this function are to be held blamed. Then there is the talk that the Chief Guest of the event came an hour and a half late. Had she known that the train goes through that area on that very time, and had she not come late, this incident would have been avoided. This is what I understand. Another question is why was the Dussehra function held at this place. The chief guest of that place should have tried to ascertain if it is a proper place or not. I am not talking politically. But there was no permission to hold this function, and I was told that last year there was no such event here," Parkash Sindh Badal said.