The organiser of the Dussehra event at Jora Phatak where 59 people were mowed down by a moving train has released a video dismissing allegations of ignoring safety measures and evading requisite permission for organising the event. Saurabh Madaan Mitthu, who organised the event, is the son of local Congress Councillor Vijay Madaan and is currently absconding. In the video released on Monday, Mitthu is heard saying that the allegations were acts to defame him and that he had sought all permission from the administration.
Mitthu added the event was organised to get everyone together on the occasion of Dussehra and that he had made arrangements for the fire brigade and water tanker as well. “The event was organised inside the boundaries of the ground and not on the railway tracks. The train came suddenly and before we could understand what had happened, it had mowed down people. There are some people who have personal animosity against me who are defaming me. I had requested people at least 10 times to not stand on the railway tracks. I and my family are very sad and pained by the accident,” said Mitthu.
Navjot Singh Sidhu meets the injured at Civil Hospital in Amritsar on Sunday. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)Meanwhile, the Opposition and family members of the victims have called for the resignation of Punjab tourism minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is a local MLA from Dhobi Ghat. Coincidently, Sidhu’s wife, Navjot Kaur was a chief guest at the Dusshera event at Jora Phatak. Videos doing rounds on social media show an organiser boasting to her about at least 5,000 people swarming the railway tracks. Denying all the allegations, she has said that the organisers had warned the assembled public to not stand on railway lines. The couple is also being blamed for shielding Mitthu, who was the main organiser of the event.
On Sunday, Sidhu found himself in an uncomfortable position when a man, who lost his son in the train tragedy in Amritsar on Friday, confronted him at the Civil Hospital. Vicky Sanotra, whose son Vasu (17) died in the accident, asked him that if Mitthu is not guilty then why is he absconding and not showing up at hospitals to meet families. Sanotra said, “He did not give any satisfactory reply and said ‘iss baare mein hum baith kar baat karenge’ (we will talk about it later). This is no reply being an elected representative of people. I was expecting something better from him.”