On the occasion of Ram Leela at Patna, a stampede occurred which killed 33 people and left behind over 29 injured of which 17 are women and 12 are men. The tradegy occurred when people where returning from Gandhi maidan after Ram Leela celebration on Friday. The injured have been admitted to the Patna Medical College Hospital.
According to eye witness accounts, the incident followed by a rumour of a live overhead electricity wire falling on people while they were returning from Gandhi Maidan, though no official conformation was made about this. The half-km stretch of the road from Gandhi Maidan to Exhibition Road and about same distance upto Kargil Chowk was littered with shoes, slippers and other objects abandoned by the fleeing crowd. Of the dead, 21 were women, 10 were minors and two were men, according to the list available at the PMCH. Seven girls were among the ten minors.
Inspector General of Police Kundan Krishnan, DIG Ajitabh Kumar, Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj and Patna Commissioner N Vijaylakshmi were present at the PMCH to supervise the security arrangement.
District Magistrate of Patna, Manish Kumar Verma said that the dead bodies would be handed to their relatives after confirming their identity.
Senior police officials with anti-riot vehicles rushed to the spot and managed to control the protesters.
With opposition BJP leaders flaying the state government on the stampede which left 32 dead and 26 injured, a senior minister said responsibility would be fixed on the guilty after a probe.
“Some are saying the incident took place after some people fell in a drain. Still others are talking about snapping of a live wire and rumour spread by a few in the crowd. The truth will come only after a thorough inquiry into the incident,” Minister Vijay Chaudhary told reporters tonight.
The state government has already ordered a high level probe by Principal Secretary Home Amir Subhani and Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) Gupteshwar Pandey.
The Minister said the Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi had left Gandhi Maidan around an hour before the tragedy which struck around 7 pm.
Meanwhile, Manjhi who held a high level meeting with Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, state police chief P K Thakur and Principal Secretary, Home, Amir Subhani on the stampede went to PMCH late in the night.
The Chief Minister interacted with the injured being treated in the emergency ward of PMCH and enquired about their condition. The Central government and the State government had announced a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh and 3 lakh respectively for the victims.
Additional police force has been deployed at the incident site near Ramgulam Chowk.
Tens of thousands of people had gathered to watch the annual event at the historic Gandhi Maidan where several pockets were reportedly dimly lit when the stampede broke out.
Opposition BJP has criticised the Jitan Ram Manjhi government for the “lapses” that resulted in the tragedy.
Last year, a similar stampede happened during Chhath Puja in Patna killing about two dozens of people.