Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Patna stampede: Probe team records statements of officials, injured


Patna, Oct 5 (IANS) The panel probing the Dussehra day stampede at the Gandhi Maidan here recorded the statements of top officials and the injured Sunday and may submit its report to the state government Monday.

The two-member committee, comprising Principal Home Secretary Amir Shubani and Additional Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey, visited the spot Saturday to inquire into Friday’s stampede.

The team was constituted by the government after Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi ordered an inquiry into the incident that killed 33 people and injured 29.

“Subhani and Pandey have recorded the statements of Patna District Magistrate Manish Kumar Verma and Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj along with magistrates who were on duty at the Gandhi Maidan,” an official of the general administration department said.

They also recorded the statements of the injured and collected information about the incident that occurred after the burning of Ravana’s effigy.

“The government has directed the probe team to submit its report as soon as possible,” the official said.

According to officials, the probe team has pointed to inadequate lightning and impediments at the exit gate as reasons for the tragedy.

The team would hold a public inquiry at the district collectorate here Oct 7 to hear accounts of eyewitnesses and other people willing to depose. The state government would also publish advertisements in newspapers appealing to the people to share information about the incident, he said.

Manjhi had already said the state government would take action against officials if they are found guilty. “Action would be initiated after the inquiry, my government would not spare any one,” he said.

Patna Medical College and Hospital Superintendent Lekhindra Prasad said that most of the injured were out of danger.

The opposition BJP submitted a memorandum to Governor D.Y. Patil Sunday for forwarding to the president.

The BJP has charged the state government with dereliction of duty and failure to learn lessons from past incidents, like the 2012 stampede during Chhath festival that left 18 people dead and the 2013 terror attack, also at the Gandhi Maidan, which claimed seven lives.

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