LESS THAN 48 hours after the train mishap that killed 59 persons in Amritsar, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh left on Sunday evening for an official visit to Israel, triggering criticism from the opposition for going on a foreign trip when the families of victims were yet to recover from the shock of their loss.
The Chief Minister was originally scheduled to leave for Israel on Friday night but stayed back in view of the mishap that evening. He left on Sunday, after the one-day state mourning on Saturday.
Amarinder will meet Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on October 23. A government statement a few days ago had said he would hold “extensive discussions on a wide range of subjects of mutual interest” during the visit.
Sources said after the Israel visit, Amarinder will continue on a personal trip to Turkey from October 25 to November 1.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), BJP, and AAP lashed out at the Chief Minister for his “indifference” and “insensitivity”.
SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said, “Under these sensitive circumstances, if the Chief Minister of a state goes abroad, I think it is very irresponsible.”
BJP National Secretary Tarun Chugh issued a statement, condemning the CM’s trip. “Even the funeral pyres of the victims are still burning but the CM has foreign trips on his mind.”
AAP MLA and former Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Sukhpal Khaira, said, “The trip could surely have been postponed for some days. There is an urgent need for the administration to help in the identification of remains as well as to rehabilitate those affected by the tragedy.”