Blame game over Patna stampede, BJP wants CM Manjhi to quit

  • Ashok Kumar Mishra, Hindustan Times, Patna
  • Updated: Oct 05, 2014 01:24 IST

The Dussehra-day stampede which killed 33 people in Patna has set off a blame game with opposition BJP and other party leaders holding the state government responsible.

Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan demanded the resignation of chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, saying the tragedy happened because the administration had no system in place.

Describing the tragedy as "regrettable and shameful", Ravi Shankar Prasad said the state government miserably failed to learn from past incidents.

Read: ‘Poor lighting led to the tragedy'

"There was a stampede during Chhath puja in 2012 and bomb explosions during Narendra Modi's rally in October last year. Still no proper arrangements were made," he said.

Prasad said the Centre would extend all help to the state government to deal with the situation. "I have already spoken to home minister Rajnath Singh and health minister Harsh Vardhan. A team of NDRF has already left for Patna to assist the state administration," he added.

Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, hitting out at the JD(U) government said: "There was no security, no lighting, one gate was open while more than five lakh people were present there and the police were there only to rain lathis on the hapless people."

"This is not the first time it has happened. The state government is insensitive and solely responsible for this. It took hours for them to react. I will submit a report to Union home minister and the prime minister once I return," he said.

Watch: Patna stampede toll rises to 33, centre seeks report

Even RJD leader Lalu Prasad who supports the Manjhi government said it was an "administrative lapse" and that there were no foolproof crowd control measures despite past incidents.

"The Gandhi Maidan stampede appears to be a matter of administrative lapse ( sic). Stern action should be taken against officials found guilty. I am keeping a watch over the event," Prasad tweeted.

Prasad said the RJD had been demanding the boundary wall of the Gandhi Maidan should be lowered and that there should be more entry and exit points to the grounds.

The Bihar government meanwhile constituted a two man committee consisting of principal home secretary Amir Shubhani and additional director general, headquarters Gupteshwar Pandey to probe the reasons for the stampede.

The investigation report will be submitted to the government and the ministry of home affairs within 24 hours, officials said.

Read: Lessons learnt and unlearnt from stampedes

Patna MP Shatrughan Sinha criticised the district administration for improper preparations and demanded an impartial probe to bring the guilty to book.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Tariq Anwar too demanded strict action against the officials responsible for the stampede.

JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav assured strict action against those responsible. "The incident will be probed and those found guilty of laxity and carelessness will face strong action," he said.

Thirty three people were killed, all of them due to suffocation, and 29 others injured in the stampede that happened towards the end of the Dussehra day celebrations on Friday evening.

Of the dead, 21 were women, 10 were minors and two men, according to the list available at the Patna Medical College Hospital.

Read: Crowd management - Layered queue system to man marking
Witnesses recount horror, darkness

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