At a time when the entire nation was in a jubilant mood celebrating Dussehra, a tragic and extremely saddening mishap in Amritsar took everyone by shock. In a heart wrenching tragedy, a train mishap occurred in Amritsar at an event where people had gathered to witness burning of the effigy of Ravana. According to eyewitnesses, a large number of people stepped onto the railway tracks due to lack of space in the main event. The onlookers had inadvertently stepped onto the railway tracks and were transfixed at the sight of the burning of the Ravana effigy. Suddenly, the onlookers were crushed by a DMU train no. 74943 and as per latest reports, around 60 people died in this tragic mishap.
This heart wrenching mishap in Amritsar has raised certain pertinent questions. How could the authorities give permission for such an event in dangerous proximity to the Railway tracks? And why no formal warning was issued to the onlookers by the event organisers?
Eyewitnesses at the event said, “Congress had organised Dussehra celebrations here without permission. Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s wife was the chief guest at the celebrations and she continued to give speech as people were struck down by the train.” The event was, therefore, organised by a local Congress body. What is appalling is the fact that the no permission had been taken by the organising body from the Congress government in Punjab or the Railways ministry. The same has been confirmed by both the state government and the Railways ministry. On the face of it, this looks like a case of gross criminal negligence and there is no plausible explanation why the state government, the local administration or the railways was not taken into the loop. Had any of the concerned authorities been informed about the event, this unfortunate and saddening tragedy could have been avoided. The authorities would have either denied permission or taken adequate steps in order to avoid an untoward incident. But due to the lax attitude of the Congress that organised this event in Amritsar, several lives were lost and their families left grieving.
It seems to be a case of trespass of Railway tracks, without the knowledge of the Railways ministry. Leave alone the question of taking permission, the Punjab government or the Railways were not even informed. The event organisers did not consider it necessary to take permission from the concerned authorities and most probably did not take into account how they were imperilling a number of lives due to their negligence.
What again shows gross negligence on the part of the organisers is the horrible placement of the LED screens. They were placed in the proximity to the railway tracks in such a manner that the onlookers ended up stepping on the tracks inadvertently. Had they been placed at a distance and in the other direction, then this grave tragedy could have been avoided.
What seems even more insensitive in background of this saddening tragedy in Amritsar is the fact that Navjot Kaur Sidhu (Navjot Singh Sidhu’s wife) arrived late at the event and the accident occurred even as she was delivering her speech on the event. And when the accident occurred, she simply sped away from the venue instead of trying to help the victims and their grieving families. This is highly insensitive and irresponsible given the gravity of the tragedy that occurred during the event.
Had adequate precautions been taken by the Congress body which organised this event, this tragedy would have never occurred. It is only due to its gross criminal negligence that the mishap occurred.
One cannot help but feel pained and saddened at this heart wrenching tragedy. No words can describe the gravity of this tragedy and the irreparable loss that the families of the deceased and the injured have suffered. This has left a void in their lives which is going to remain unfulfilled. It is such a loss that can never be compensated monetarily. The government may announce compensation for the families of those who passed away in this unfortunate tragedy, but no such compensation will bring back their loved ones.