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90 injured at PM Modi’s rally in Midnapore after tent collapses

The injured were rushed to Midnapore Medical College and Hospital. The Prime Minister visited the injured in the hospital after the rally .

india Updated: Jul 17, 2018 00:04 IST
Koushik Dutta
Koushik Dutta
Hindustan Times
Modi's Midnapore rally,tent collapse at Modi's rally,Mamata Banerjee
Prime Minister Modi visited the injured at the hospital after his rally in West Bengal’s Midnapore. (HT Photo )

As many as 90 people were injured on Monday after a section of a tent caved in during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at a public rally in West Bengal’s Midnapore.

“Out of the 90 admitted to the hospital, 66 were males and 24 female. Fourteen were discharged after preliminary treatment. The condition of two is critical,” said Panchanan Kundu, the principal of Midnapore Medical College and Hospital.

The Prime Minister and the leaders of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the dais were, however, safe. He rushed to see the injured at Midnapore Medical College and Hospital after the meeting.

“Fortunately, none of them has got severe injuries,” Samit Dash, president of West Midnapore district unit of the BJP, said.

The Centre has sought a report from the West Bengal government over the incident, a home ministry spokesperson said.

Volunteers and locals at the venue said a part of the tent gave away after some people climbed on the iron rods holding up the canopy. They said the heavy rains also added to the accident.

“The number of people swelled so much that several persons climbed the rods to get a view of the dais and the leaders triggering the collapse,” Atanu Das, a local who was close to the spot of the accident, said.

“We will investigate and file a case in the collapse incident,” said West Midnapore district police chief Alok Rajoria.

Dipak Mahato, an 18-year-old from Salboni, said he fell down after people started running following the structure’s collapse and injured his left hand.

“I was under the shed that caved in. Before I could escape an iron rod descended and hit my shoulder. My daughter-in-law who was accompanying me pulled me out. Otherwise, the injury would have been worse,” Swarna Mahato, who came to attend the rally, said.

Modi praised the audience for not leaving the spot even after a chaos following the incident.

“Today, I witnessed a new force of the people of Bengal. Can anyone imagine that one-third of the pandal came down and yet the meeting continued peacefully? I cannot think it happening anywhere. I shall remember this meeting for the rest of my life,” Modi said.

“There are so many people here despite heavy rains and obstructions. And now the meeting is continuing without a hitch despite the collapse,” he added.

Sayantan Basu, one of the general secretaries of the state unit of BJP, asked people not to panic.

“The Prime Minister’s ambulance is being used to shift the injured to the hospital,” Basu said over the public address system immediately after Modi left the venue.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted assuring all help to those who were injured.

“We pray for the speedy recovery of all those injured at the Midnapore rally today. The government is giving all help for medical treatment,” Banerjee said.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala targeted the PM over the incident, alleging that when the injured were crying for help, he chose to continue his speech. “Bengal and the entire country today witnessed a new insensitive face of Modi,” Surjewala said.

BJP president Amit Shah has his eye set on West Bengal and other coastal states where the party believes it can win more seats in the general elections scheduled to be held next year than it had managed in 2014 because of Modi’s popularity, the decline of Left parties and little sign of the revival of Congress’ fortunes.

First Published: Jul 16, 2018 14:32 IST