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Amritsar Congress councillor, son who organised Dussehra event go underground after tragedy

Congress councillor Vijay Madaan and her son Saurabh Madaan ‘Meethu’, who organised the Dussehra event, have gone underground after the Amritsar train tragedy that left 61 dead.

india Updated: Oct 20, 2018 22:27 IST
Mandeep Kaur Narula
Mandeep Kaur Narula
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Amritsar,Train,Accident
Relatives stand next to burning pyres of a man who was killed when a train ploughed into a crowd of Dussehra revellers, at a cremation ground in Amritsar on October 20, 2018.(AFP)

Even as political leaders made a beeline to the rail tragedy spot in Amritsar that left 61 Dussehra revellers dead, Congress councillor Vijay Madaan and her son Saurabh Madaan ‘Meethu’, who organised the event, have gone underground.

The tragic incident took place on Friday evening when a local train ploughed through crowds who were standing on the tracks watching the Ravana effigy burning.

Visibly, the crowd was angry and raised a protest, demanding action against the event organiser, Saurabh.

People close to him said after the accident, victims’ family members and agitated crowd came to his house but he managed to escape, without giving any clue about his whereabouts.

When the HT team visited the house of the councillor on Saturday, it was locked. Saurabh’s father Raman Madaan, his brother and sister-in-law had also left the residence.

Rajiv Sharma Dimpy, a BJP leader, whose wife had unsuccessfully contested against Vijay, said Saurabh shouldn’t have absconded “like a coward”. He said the organiser is at fault and strict action should be taken against Saurabh and other organisers for their mismanagement.

“(Saurabh) Meethu and his family share a close relation with the local bodies’ minister and Amritsar East MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu. That’s why the police are reluctant to take action against him,” a local politician said, while requesting anonymity.

However, Chaman Lal, Saurabh’s neighbour, said the Madaans have a good reputation in the locality and they always stand by people in bad times.

On being asked why then Saurabh had left his house, Lal said it was due to security.

“The agitating crowd had visited the locality, and had he been there, something untoward would have happened. The crowd could have killed them. Even I would have run away in such a scenario,” he said.

Lal said crowds were raising slogans against Saurabh till 2am and police was deployed in the locality, due to which violence was averted.

Meanwhile, the agitating crowds and the families of victims have been demanding action against Saurabh and Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who allegedly left the venue after the accident.

But Sidhu’s husband and minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said she was attending to injured at the hospital when allegations were being levelled against her.

Also read | Entire families have been wiped out: Amritsar train accident eyewitness

First Published: Oct 20, 2018 20:34 IST