TWO WOMEN were killed and 21 people injured in a stampede Sunday at the main gate of the Kanshi Ram Smarak Sthal after BSP chief Mayawati addressed a huge gathering there to mark party founder Kanshi Ram’s tenth death anniversary.
Eyewitnesses said that the stampede, which started when people were leaving the venue after Mayawati’s speech, left several lying unconscious on the ground.
Police identified one of the two dead as Shanti Devi of Kanpur Dehat district, while the other was yet to be identified.
The injured were rushed to Lok Bandhu Raj Narain Hospital, near the venue, where the two women were declared brought dead, and 17 others admitted for treatment, said Dr B K Singh of the hospital. At least three of the injured were yet to be identified.
Four others, who were seriously injured, were taken to Balrampur Hospital in Lucknow, from where two of them were transferred to the trauma centre of the King George’s Medical University.
Eight of the injured were from Azamgarh district, said police, and the others from Lakhimpur Kheri, Ballia, Jaunpur, Pratapgarh, Gorakhpur and Sitapur.
Pitailal Maurya, from Babaganj in Pratapgarh district, said the stampede was triggered by a group of people who started to push their way out of the venue. “Within a few minutes, several men and women were lying on the ground and others running over them,” he said.
Sunil, a resident of Gopalpur in Azamgarh district, whose mother Shanti Devi was injured on the chest, claimed that the stampede started after two or three men tried to snatch a woman’s jewellery.
Later, the BSP blamed the “lackadaisical arrangement by police and the SP government” for the stampede. The party alleged that “no special arrangements” were made for the huge crowd.
BSP general secretary Naseemuddin Siddiqui, who visited the injured along with other party leaders, said the party would provide Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the two dead.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav also announced financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the two women. A government spokesperson said hospital authorities were asked to provide proper care and treatment to the injured.