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Amritsar train tragedy: Congress councillors come out in defence of Navjot Kaur Sidhu, organiser Mithu

Eyewitness had blamed Mithu and Kaur for the delay in starting the ceremony. The councillor said the organisers had made several announcements asking the spectators to move away from the tracks.

punjab Updated: Oct 27, 2018 09:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Amritsar train tragedy,Amritsar,Navjot Kaur Sidhu
Congress councillors from Amritsar East constituency during a press conference at Circuit House on Friday.(HT Photo)

Two days after a victim of Amritsar train tragedy, accompanied by SAD- BJP leaders, lodged a complaint against event organiser Saurabh Madaan aka Mithu and Navjot Kaur Sidhu, the councillors of Amritsar East constituency — local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s segment— held a press conference at Circuit House Friday.

Defending Kaur (chief guest at the event) and Mithu, councillors — Salwinder Sally, Moti Bhatia, Jeet Singh Bhatia and Grish Sharma — held department of railways, Amritsar police and municipal corporation (MC) responsible for the ‘lapses’ due to which the tragedy took place. The October-19 mishap snuff out 61 people lives.

Eyewitness had blamed Mithu and Kaur for the delay in starting the ceremony. The councillor said the organisers had made several announcements asking the spectators to move away from the tracks.

The councillors also questioned the municipal corporation (MC)’s role of providing a fire tender and water tanker at the Dussehra venue.

Councillor Moti Bhatia said, “The organiser had taken permission from the MC but now the commissioner is lying.” MC commissioner Sonali Giri has been maintaining that no permission was granted for the function.

The councillor said, “The victim Lakhbir Singh has lodged the complaint under the influence of SAD-BJP leaders. Initially, he had held train’s driver responsible for the incident when Kaur had gone to enquire about his health.”

The councillors also showed a video where Lakhbir can be seen saying that the train’s speed was more than 100 km per hour when it mowed down the people.

Councillor Salwinder Sally said before the accident took place, two trains passed from the same track but there speed was ‘moderate’. “It is the driver’s fault,” he said.

Targeting Amritsar police, one of the councillors said there were around a hundred cops,including a deputy commissioner of police (DSP) and two station house officers (SHOs), deployed at the event but the people continued to watch the function standing on railway tracks.

Meanwhile, Navjot Singh Sidhu gave cheques of ₹5 lakh each to five more families. He said till, now, the compensation has been given to 46 families.

First Published: Oct 27, 2018 09:31 IST