Sunday, May 29, 2022

Rumours of live wire led to Patna stampede: Official

Patna, Nov 29 (IANS) Rumours that a live cable wire had fallen as well as administrative lapses led to the Dussehra day stampede here that left 33 people, mostly women and children, dead, an official said Saturday.

“Rumours that a live cable wire had fallen near the exit of one of the gates of the Gandhi Maidan led to panic resulting in a stampede,” Principal Home Secretary Amir Subhani told the media here, a day after a panel probing the stampede submitted its report to the state government.

A two-member inquiry commission, with Subhani and Additional Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey, was set up by the Bihar government to probe the stampede.

Subhani also said there were administrative lapses that contributed to the tragedy in which over 30 people were also injured.

“The Patna district administration, Patna police, Patna Municipal Corporation and Patna traffic police failed in their duty of crowd control management and other arrangements for holding such a big event,” he said.

According to him, the lighting arrangements at the venue were inadequate and several officials including magistrates deployed on duty were missing at the time of the tragedy.

“We have recommended to the state government to take administrative and disciplinary action against officials responsible for these lapses,” Subhani said.

Subhani and Pandey had recorded the statements of then Patna district magistrate Manish Kumar Verma and then Patna senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaj along with magistrates who were on duty at the Gandhi Maidan.

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

The statements of the eyewitnesses and the relatives of the victims were also recorded in-camera at the two-day hearing conducted at the collectorate.

Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi had said the government would take action against officials if they are found guilty.

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