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Disheartening To See Rahul Engaging In 'Irresponsible' Discourse When Country United In Grief After Train Tragedy: Puri

Puri said the government was working tirelessly and within 51 hours of the accident, the railway lines were restored and arrangements were also made to aid the injured.

Hardeep Singh Puris press conference
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Hitting out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday said it is disheartening to see him conducting "anti-national" programmes and engaging in "irresponsible" discourse at a time the entire country is united in grief after the deadly train accident in Odisha.

Puri said the government was working tirelessly and within 51 hours of the accident, the railway lines were restored and arrangements were also made to aid the injured.

The prime minister visited the accident site swiftly and three central ministers were there as well, he said.

"Our nation mourns every single loss of life.... It saddens me that while we are working tirelessly, some are making irresponsible statements without considering the facts," he said.

Addressing the Indian diaspora in the US at an event, Gandhi charged that the BJP and the RSS are "incapable" of looking at the future and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to drive the Indian car by only looking in the rear-view mirror which will lead to "one accident after another."

If one asks the BJP why a train accident happened, they will say the Congress party did such and such thing 50 years ago, he said, taking a swipe at the government following the Odisha train accident.

At least 275 people were killed and around 1,175 injured in the crash involving Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express and Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and a goods train near the Bahanaga Bazar station in Odisha's Balasore district Friday evening.

Targeting Gandhi, Puri said, "When the entire country stands united in grief and is focusing on supporting one another, it is disheartening to witness him conducting anti-national programmes and engaging in irresponsible discourse."

"We need an opposition that acts responsibly and focusses on issues that affect the nation as a whole," the minister said, adding it is time to set aside differences and work together for the country's betterment.

On Gandhi's remarks on the condition of minorities in India, Puri reminded him of referred to some "tragic incidents that have scarred our history".

"I remind him of the Neelie massacre in Assam...which claimed the lives of 2,000 people...and in 1984, we lost 3,000 of our Sikh brothers in the horrific events that unfolded. It is important to remember these incidents before making claims about the present," Singh told reporters here.

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