Amritsar train accident: Gateman should have asked driver to slow train down, says Navjot Kaur Sidhu

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Amritsar | Published: October 20, 2018 7:22:27 PM

Former minister Navjot Kaur Sidhu said the gateman responsible for closing the railway barrier could have alerted the driver to slow down the train as several people were standing on the rail tracks.

Sidhu was the chief guest of the Dussehra celebrations held near Joda Phatak here where 59 revellers were mowed down by a train. She was accused of leaving the site of accident without bothering about the victims. (File photo: IE)

Former minister Navjot Kaur Sidhu said Saturday the gateman responsible for closing the railway barrier could have alerted the driver to slow down the train as several people were standing on the rail tracks.

Sidhu was the chief guest of the Dussehra celebrations held near Joda Phatak here where 59 revellers were mowed down by a train. She was accused of leaving the site of accident without bothering about the victims.

She said several announcements were made from the stage at the event, requesting people to come inside the Dhobi ghat to watch the burning effigies.

The railway man who was responsible for closing the barrier should have seen that Dusshera event was being held there, she said.

“Could he not see the train coming and the people standing on the railway track? He was there on the spot. He could have alerted the driver to slow down the train.

“People were just looking at Ravana’s effigy being burnt. They were not seeing that a train was coming,” Sidhu told reporters here.

She said people should not indulge in a blame game over the tragedy.

She said Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had already ordered a probe and after four weeks, everyone would come to know who was at fault.

Sidhu said before she went on the dais, four to five announcements were made from the stage, urging people not to stand on railway tracks.

“They were told that there was enough space at the Dhobi Ghat ground and they could come there but the people did not listen to the requests,” said Sidhu.

To a question on the permissions granted for the event, Sidhu said she had seen two to three permissions which were obtained by the organiser.

She said the Dusshera event had been held there for the last 40 years.

To a query, she said she was just 15 minutes late in attending the function.

Sidhu said when she came to know about the incident she immediately went to the hospital to see the patients

“I even arranged doctors so the injured gets treatment. Being a doctor, I provided medical treatment to some of them,” she said.

The opposition Friday had targeted Navjot Kaur Sidhu, a former MLA and wife of Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, claiming she allegedly left the venue without bothering the victims.

SAD leader and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia had accused Navjot Kaur Sidhu of running away from the accident site.

At least 59 people were killed Friday evening after a crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching the burning of a Ravana effigy was run over by a train near Joda Phatak here.

The incident took place on Friday evening when at least 300 people were watching the ‘Ravana dahan’ at a ground adjacent to the tracks.

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