The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) workers gathered for a massive rally at the Kanshi Ram Smarak Maidan. in Lucknow on Sunday, which ended with the death of at least three people after stampede broke out. The rally, addressed by BSP chief Mayawati, was to mark the party patriarch Kanshi Ram’s 10th death anniversary. The police said that the chaos began as some people, climbing down the stairs, lost their balance and fell on each other. The deceased died of suffocation. Several people were injured and sub-sequentially rushed to a local hospital. This isn’t a first time that a BSP rally witnessed a stampede. In 2002, at least 12 party workers were killed and 22 injured at the Charbagh Railway station after a BSP rally in Lucknow. Here’s a look at the other major stampedes that happened across the country this year:
Tiruvannamalai temple stampede
On February 8, four people in Tamil Nadu died after drowning as a stampede broke out in the Tiruvannamalai temple. It was early in the day, as thousands of pilgrims tried to join the priests surging towards the temple pond as part of ‘Mahodhaya Punniya Kalatheeravari’, an auspicious day ritual that occurs only once in 30 years. The stampede was caused because the authorities failed to estimate the number of pilgrims before hand, and the situation went beyond control when the rituals started. One of the priests carrying the deity, as part of the procession, was among the four deceased.
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Kollam temple tragedy
A firework display at the Puttingal temple in Kollam, Kerala turns quickly into a disaster on April 10. A firework hit a room stocked with fireworks which then exploded. The room where the fireworks were stored collapsed, with concrete falling on devotees gathered at the site. A number of people were injured in a stampede that took place as people ran for cover. Over a 100 people were killed and almost 400 others injured in the incident. The district administration then deputed a medical team to counsel those living near the temple to nurse them back from the trauma. Officials visited houses of all the dead to look into demands of their near ones. On July 11, the Kerala High Court granted bail to 31 accused, including contractors handling the fireworks and the members of the management committee of the temple. The HC had also pulled up the government for its failure to initiate action against officials who failed to prevent the display of fireworks.
Murshidabad hospital fire
Two people were killed and more than 20 injured in a stampede after fire broke out in Murshidabad Medical College on August 28. The fire was reportedly caused by a short circuit in the AC machine. Both the deceased were part of the nursing staff, who were killed in the stampede that ensued after people tried to escape from the fire. There were more than 5,000 people on the hospital premises when the incident occurred. The emergency gate of the hospital was reportedly closed, so patients and hospital staff had to use only one staircase while trying to escape. It has been alleged that the fire alarm at the hospital was not functioning. The West Bengal government later called for a CID probe into the incident and declared a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of both victims and free treatment for the injured.
Indian Navy recruitment drive
Around 50,000 aspirants showed up for an Indian Navy recruitment drive on September 9, overwhelming the authorities and leading to a stampede. Four people were injured as chaos broke out at INS Hamla, Malad. Officials admitted that though they were expecting a good response to the drive recruiting senior secondary recruits, the response was overwhelming and crowd control created a bit of confusion in the early hours. The situation was soon brought under control. A Navy spokesperson lauded the local police and Navy officials for handling the situation very efficiently.