Patna, Oct 4:
Local residents and family members of victims of Friday’s stampede at Gandhi Maidan here that claimed at least 33 lives have blamed government apathy for the incident.
Angry over the death of a close relative, Manorma Devi held the government, particularly the district administration and police’s failure to manage the huge crowds gathered to watch “Ravan Vadh” responsible for the incident.
“Local administration, mainly police, totally failed to control the crowds after rumours spread that a live high tension wire had fallen. Many lives could have been saved if police acted in right direction” she said waiting outside the Patna Medical College and Hospital, where one of her family who was seriously injured in the stampede has been admitted for treatment.
“There was no proper arrangement for huge crowds, estimated to be more than 3.5 lakh. The main gates were closed, only small gates were opened for people to come out after the end of celeberation. Even poor light arrangement at the gates added to the problem,” said Sunil Gupta, who was lucky to escape the stampede.
According to district administration officials, rumours that a live high tension wire had fallen to the ground led to the stampede.
Other local residents like Kamla Prasad and Munna Kumar, a shopkeeper of nearby, said that after people panicked due to rumours and tried to flee, hundreds of vehicles parked near the gate and roads created the hurdle and caused the stampede.
“It was duty of local administration and police not to allow parking of four and two wheelers at the Ramghulam square near Gandhi Maidan as it connect to Exhibition road which has been congested in view of ongoing construction of flyover. The entire stretch of Exhibition road is encroached due to construction work,” they said.
Additional Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey said a probe into the cause of the stampede has begun.
Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi has ordered a probe by the state home secretary Amir Subhani and Pandey.
Manjhi had visited the hospital where the injured are being treated late Friday and inquired about their condition.