Two women died and several people were injured in a stampede at a music programme in north Bengal’s Kalimpong district late Sunday evening.
The local police said the ticket counter at the Mela ground was overcrowded as popular Nepali rapper Ashish Rana alias Lahure was scheduled to perform at the show. The ground can accommodate 20,000 people.
When the venue’s doors were opened, people tried to rush inside, resulting in the stampede. Many people fell off a staircase. Of the six people seriously injured in the stampede, Anita Chettri (40) and Banita Gurung (46) lost their lives. The others are undergoing treatment in a hospital, while those who suffered minor injuries were discharged.
“A case is being registered against the organisers of the event. The administration is in touch with the families of the deceased and injured persons, and offering all possible assistance,” said a senior district police officer.
Darjeeling MP and BJP national spokesperson Raju Bista wrote to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, demanding that the state government “pay all the treatment and hospital bills of those injured” and provide “appropriate financial compensation” to the families of the deceased since the district administration had granted permission for the event.
Bista blamed “administrative negligence” for the stampede, and claimed the incident could have been avoided had government officials checked safety protocols.
“I am absolutely devastated to learn about the series of unfortunate events leading to the death of two individuals Anita Chettri and Banita Gurung from Chandralok in Kalimpong. I have been informed that five more individuals have been injured, out of whom two have been taken to Siliguri for treatment, and three are under treatment at Kalimpong District Hospital. I am praying for their early recovery,” the MP wrote.
He demanded a proper investigation and said the role of the officials involved in granting permission for the event must be ascertained.
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