The Shiv Sena on Monday compared the train accident in Amritsar – which killed at least 62 people celebrating Dussehra last week – to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919 in which hundreds of people were killed after British soldiers fired upon a peaceful congregation protesting the arrest of two leaders.
“While the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh took place under British rule, the massacre at Amritsar happened under an Indian government,” the Shiv Sena said in an editorial in its mouthpiece, Saamana.
The party alleged that while the government talks about development, railway infrastructure in the country is in a mess. “While the problems in signalling system and broken tracks persist, the leadership is celebrating the ‘bullet train’,” the editorial said.
The editorial claimed that the Union Railway Ministry was “irresponsible”. It alleged that people were being appointed to the Railway Ministry arbitrarily. “When a major accident takes place, a railways minister quits and is replaced by another,” the editorial said. “This has become a tradition. Earlier, Suresh Prabhu resigned and Piyush Goyal was chosen as his replacement.”
“The Railway Ministry had an independent budget,” the party’s mouthpiece said. “But the Narendra Modi-led government removed that too.”
However, the Shiv Sena added that celebrating on the tracks without permission was an “invitation” to such an accident. “A Punjab minister called the accident a natural calamity,” the editorial said. “This is foolishness.”
The party said it is useless to bicker about whether the Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party government were responsible for the tragedy. It said that the accident was a man-made tragedy just like the deaths of children in a hospital in Gorakhpur last year.
The editorial exonerated the train driver, blaming politicians who are enchanted by the prospect of bullet trains. “A political fight erupted over the fact that Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh reached the spot 16 hours after the incident,” it said. The editorial said that the political mudslinging over the incident would go on for a while, and called the accident “the bloody cries of Achche Din”.