President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday expressed his condolences after at least 22 people were killed and 39 others were injured following a rush hour stampede on a foot overbridge linking Elphinstone Road and Parel suburban railways stations in Mumbai. In a tweet, the President said that he is “anguished” by the loss of lives. “Anguished by the loss of lives in the stampede in Mumbai. Condolences to the bereaved families; prayers with injured,” President Kovind said. Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu also expressed his grief. In a tweet, he said, “My deepest condolences to the bereaved families who have lost their dear ones and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took to Twitter to express his grief over the incident. In a series of tweets, PM Modi said, “My deepest condolences to all those who have lost their lives due to the stampede in Mumbai. Prayers with those who are injured. Situation in Mumbai is being continuously monitored. @PiyushGoyal is in Mumbai taking stock of the situation & ensuring all assistance,” he said.
Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu condoled the Elphinstone stampede. “My deepest condolences to the bereaved families who have lost their dear ones and wish a speedy recovery to the injured,” he wrote on Twitter.
Speaking to reporters, Additional Commissioner of Police, Central Region, S Jayakumar said the stampede was a result of rain and overcrowding. The incident evoked strong reaction from opposition parties as well as Mumbaikars, who expressed frustration at the government’s lackadaisical attitude towards the lives of people.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi described the tragedy as “a man-made disaster”. She further expressed her concerns over the rail safety. Speaking to reporters, Gandhi said, “Such accidents could have been avoided had there been proper planning and concern for safety.” She has also asked the Regional and Pradesh Congress Committee and Congress workers to contribute in providing assistance to the families of the bereaved.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi also reacted to the incident. “Deeply pained to know about the tragic stampede at Elphinstone station.
My thoughts with the families of the victims,” Gandhi wrote on Twitter.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala slammed the government for working towards developing “bullet trains” but being unable to provide basic amenities to public. In a tweet, Surjewala said, “Terrible tragedy at Elphinstone. My condolences to the family of the deceased. Govt talking of Bullet Trains but basic facilities missing,” he said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her condolences over the deaths caused by the stampede in Mumbai. “Saddened at the loss of lives in Mumbai. Prayers for the injured to recover. Condolences to the families who lost loved ones,” Banerjee said in a tweet.
NCP also criticised the government on its “negligence” and went on to demand an enquiry over the incident. In a series of tweet, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik expressed his condolences over the deaths. Describing the incident as “another case of negligence”, Malik said, “My condolences to families of those who lost their loved ones in the Elphinstone Railway station Mumbai stampede. Another case of negligence & compromise of commuters safety by Railways at Mumbai Elphinstone Railway station,” he wrote.
He went on to sought an enquiry into the incident, and said action must be taken against those responsible. “Inquiry should be instituted immediately & action must be taken against those responsible for this tragedy,” he said. He further asked the government to announce compensation for the victims of the tragedy.
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NCP leader further went on to criticise Central government for “neglecting” Mumbai local railways. “70 lakh commuters use Mumbai local Railway, everyday, previous govt upgraded it under MUTP 1 & MUTP 2 but NDA govt has neglected it completely,” he said. “Enough is enough now, consistent cases of railway accidents & compromise of commuters safety has led to deaths, a case of culpable homicide should be registered against @RailMinIndia & @PiyushGoyal,” he said. Shiv Sena MLA Ajay Choudhary also slammed BJP and said, “Govt not able to provide basic facilities&services at stations but dreams of bullet trains.
Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, who reached Mumbai to take a stock of the situation expressed his condolences on the incident. In a series of tweet, Goyal said, “Just landed in Mumbai. Deeply grieved at tragic loss of innocent lives due to an unfortunate stampede at Elphinstone Road foot over bridge. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the bereaved. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured persons.”
He added that he has orded a high level enquiry into the incident. “Have ordered a high level enquiry headed by the Chief Safety Officer, Western Railways,” he said.
Goyal also announced an ex gratia of rupees five lakh by the Railways to the families of those who lost their lives in the stampede at Elphinstone railway station. He said that those grievously injured in the incident will get rupees one lakh whereas those with minor injuries will be given Rs 50,000.
Stating that he has issued directions for safety and capacity audit of congested foot over bridges in Mumbai, the Railway Minister said, “Wherever there is a need for foot over bridges to be widened, we will do it immediately on high priority.”
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that he is “saddended and shocked” after hearing about the tragedy at Elphinstone Railway station. In a series of tweet, Fadnavis said, “My heart goes out to the families who lost their loved ones and got affected.” He went on to announce Rs 5 lakh as compensation for the victims in the tragedy. “Rs 5 lakh announced for the next of the kins of deceased and all the medical expenses of the injured will be borne by GoM,” he said. He further said that strict action will be taken against those who will be found responsible.
Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha informed that no question has been raised on the structural strength of the bridge. Calling it an unfortunate incident, he asked to refrain from politicising the “matter. “None should do politics on such an unfortunate incident, there are people who always seek opportunity. We’re above politics on the issue,” he said.
Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje has also expressed grief over the incident. “Deeply saddened by the Elphinstone Station incident.
My prayers are with the families of the deceased. Hope the injured recover soon,” Raje wrote on Twitter
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the incident calls for an FIR against the government. “Sarkaar ke upar sadosh manushyavadh ka FIR daakhil hona chahiye aur Railway Mantralaya pe mukadma chalna chahiye (An FIR should be filed against the government for crime against humanity and legal proceedings should be carried out against the Railway Ministry),” he said.
“Government not able to provide basic facilities and services at stations but dreams of bullet trains,” Shiv Sena MLA Ajay Choudhary said while reacting on Mumbai stampede.
Former CM of Maharashtra and current president of the state’s Congress unit Ashok Chavan said that the government has earned a bad name due to incidents like these. The people are very troubled, he added.
NCP leader Supriya Sule took to Twitter to express her condolences on the Elphinstone bridge tragedy. “Horrific incident at #Elphinstone station, Mumbai.There is an urgent need to improve our railway infrastructure, which has to be the priority,” she tweeted.