Families of victims, mowed down by a train during Dussehra celebrations in Amritsar last year, here on Monday, alleged indifference on the part of Navjot Singh Sidhu, their legislator and former Minister, and criticised him for not keeping the promises made at the time of disaster that claimed 60 lives and injured over 50.
Sidhu had promised to provide government jobs to the kin of each victim, to adopt children who had lost their earning parent, and help widows meet life expanses.
Sidhu and his wife had gone into hibernation since he quit the government in July, said a 20-year-old college student, who lost his father in the accident. A group of nearly 30 families went to meet Sidhu and his wife at their residence on Saturday and remind them about their unfulfilled promises.
“We were told by their personal staff they were not at home. When we asked them to arrange a meeting with them, they refused to help,” he said.
“We staged a sit-in outside Sidhu’s house. Later, at the intervention of the local police, we decided to come again on Monday. Today we went and we were told to come tomorrow (Tuesday),” he said.
Naresh Yadav, who lost his son in the accident, said, “I have received financial compensation from the government. But Sidhu and his wife promised me to help in restarting some semi-skilled work. But they seem to be backtracking from their promise,” Yadav said.
Sidhu, who had been at loggerheads with Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, formally resigned on July 14. Since then he made public appearance only once and visited his constituency Amritsar (East) to oversee developmental projects briefly.
Sidhu, who was active before putting in his papers as Minister on Twitter, made his last post on July 21, announcing, “Have vacated the ministerial bungalow, handed it over to the Punjab government.”
A speeding train had run over Dussehra revellers near Amritsar on October 19, 2018.