An unfortunate incident greeted a joyful nation as a large number of people were crushed by a speeding train as they were watching the burning of the Ravana effigy at Choura Bazar between Amritsar and Manavla, at crossing No. 27
As reported to news agency ANI, eyewitnesses testified that people had collected at the site to witness the burning of the effigy of Ravana on the occasion of the Vijayadashami. Due to lack of space at the main event, a large number of onlookers had inadvertently stepped onto the railway tracks, ignoring the possibility of a coming train.
In late evening, as the effigy of Ravana was burnt, the loud noises of firecrackers bursting and the dazzling sight of the burning of the effigy transfixed the onlookers, who couldn’t hear the voice of the coming train on the tracks.
According to primary reports from ABP News and Times Now, the DMU train No. 74943 was to cross that site, and the speeding train ran at an approximate speed of almost 100 km. / hr. Since the onlookers couldn’t hear the siren of the train owing to the loud noises from the firecrackers burning with the effigy, and most of the people standing on tracks were crushed by the speeding train.
An exact count has not come up as of now, but according to police commissioner of Amritsar, SSP Srivastava, the no. of people who died due to the accident would be definitely above 50-60, even as people were being evacuated:-
— ANI (@ANI) October 19, 2018
This is a deeply upsetting event, and without delay, condolences started pouring in. From PM Narendra Modi, to current CM, Captain [Retd.] Amarinder Singh, everyone expressed their shock at the incident, and announced requisite compensation, as follows:-
Extremely saddened by the train accident in Amritsar. The tragedy is heart-wrenching. My deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones and I pray that the injured recover quickly. Have asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 19, 2018
Shocked to hear of tragic rail accident in Amritsar. Have asked all govt & pvt hospitals to stay open to help in this hour of grief. District authorities have been directed to take up relief and rescue operations on a war footing, tweets Punjab CM (file pic) pic.twitter.com/sT6mgTDaIl
— ANI (@ANI) October 19, 2018
As of now, the victims have been announced a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh each to the kiths and kin of the deceased. Railways Minister Piyush Goyal is returning from USA, while the Punjab CM canceled his visit to Israel.
However, this mishap has also left some burning questions unanswered? If people were standing on the railway tracks, why didn’t the organizers try to issue a formal warning? Also, how was this event given permission, and above all, so close to the railway tracks? Even though the CM has called for an official inquiry, it is doubtful if the perpetrators will be booked or not.
Curiously, a fact about the incident is also raising some eyebrows now. According to the eyewitnesses, as reported to the media portal ABP news, the wife of controversial cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, Navjot Kaur was present at the site as the chief guest of the Dussehra celebrations.
She was allegedly on the stage, delivering a speech when the mishap happened. According to the eyewitnesses, Navjot Kaur and the Congress party followers present quickly escaped the moment the mishap happened, causing chaos and mayhem throughout the area. If this is true, this is a clear case of gross criminal negligence, both on the part of the Congress and the event organizers.
To add further insult to injury, the following statement of Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who later went to see the injured, reeks more of irresponsibility and trying to pass the buck rather than accepting the fault.
According to Times Now reports, she was reported to have said, ‘”………..Dussehra celebrations are held there every year. People who are doing politics over this incident should be ashamed…..Did we force the people to sit on the track?” She even tried to blame the Railways for the mishap. Trying to shirk responsibility, Mrs. Sidhu?
Going a step further, the left liberals, notorious for their vulture politics, started their anti Modi drama, with Shekhar Gupta leading the pack with his atrocious tweet:-
First reports said unmanned crossing was left open, some tv channels still saying that. Confusion also about whether there was one train or two. Bodies apparently being found on one track. Details still coming in. But entirely avoidable tragedy. https://t.co/JetIbkybdr
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) October 19, 2018
All in all, the railway mishap near Amritsar is extremely saddening and must be thoroughly investigated. However, in no way this should give room for political opportunists to go ahead and exploit this situation for their selfish motives.
They have already begun. Rohini Singh who seems to have a special hatred for Rail Minister Piyush Goyal didn’t waste a single moment to pin all the blame on him.
— Rohini Singh (@rohini_sgh) October 19, 2018
It’s shameful of them to convert this into a political wrestling match. It is not the time for politics but for the opposition and a section of media everything is a political opportunity, even dead bodies!