West Bengal: 3 killed as stampede breaks out during blanket distribution programme in Paschim Bardhaman

Image Source : ANI West Bengal: 3 killed as stampede breaks out during blanket distribution programme in Paschim Bardhaman

West Bengal stampede: In a tragic incident, at least three persons were killed and eight others severely injured in a stampede on Wednesday at a blanket distribution programme in West Bengal’s Paschim Bardhaman district.

The stampede broke out as people rushed to the stage in an effort to collect blankets after the Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP left the venue. Meanwhile, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) has put the blame on Adhikari, stating the incident occurred due to “chaos created by” him who described the deaths and injuries as “unfortunate”.

Around 5,000 people were present at the programme

According to Asansol Mayor Bidhan Upadhyay, a TMC leader, around 5,000 people were present at the programme. “Three persons were killed and five others were injured in the stampede. The injured people were hospitalised,” a senior official of Asansol Durgapur Police Commissionerate said.

Police asserted that no permission was taken by the religious group to organise the event. They further stated that a probe into the incident was initiated.

“We are trying to get CCTV footage of the incident and find out what led to the stampede,” he said.

TMC blames Suvendu Adhikari for incident

TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee held Adhikari responsible for the three deaths, while the BJP leader claimed that the police personnel deployed for crowd management at the programme were withdrawn after he left.

Banerjee also referred to Adhikari’s statement on earlier occasions that big developments will happen on December 12, 14 and 21. However, on December 12, he claimed that “a very influential dacoit” will be put behind bars by January 14.

Banerjee said in a Twitter post: “@SuvenduWB promised us a December Dhamaka on the 12th, 14th and 21st. This is how it went: 12th Dec – Lalan Seikh was found dead in CBI custody. 14th December – 3 innocent lives were lost in Asansol due to the chaos created by him. Is something more tragic in store for December 21?” (sic).

Lalan Seikh was an accused person in the Bogtui village massacre in the Birbhum district. At least 10 people were killed in arson and violence that followed the murder of local TMC leader Bhadu Sheikh on March 21. The CBI is probing the case on the orders of the Calcutta High Court.

Adhikari expresses sorrow over the incident

Adhikari later took to Twitter and expressed sorrow over the stampede.

“When I was present at the venue, the arrangements made by the local police were satisfactory…. After I left the venue, the arrangements made by the police were withdrawn. Even the civic volunteers were asked to leave the venue by their superiors (sic),” he said.

Adhikari, however, said he was not blaming anyone for this “horrific incident” and the deaths and injuries are “absolutely unfortunate, sorrowful and tragic”.

Asansol Mayor Bidhan Upadhyay told PTI that the condition of the injured people is “critical”.

“This is an unfortunate incident. I am here in the hospital and overseeing the treatment. The conditions of those injured are also critical. We will provide all sorts of assistance to them,” Upadhyay added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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