If a majority of the affidavits filed before a judicial commission probing the Ratangarh Mata temple stampede are to be believed, the tragedy in which 115 people were killed was caused not by any administrative lapses but by rumours that the bridge on the Sindh river was about to collapse.
In their affidavits, all the bureaucrats and police officers have passed the buck to each other. Summed up, they suggest none of them was responsible because they were either not on the spot or on duty. They are yet to be examined before the judicial commission, set up by the state government two days after the October 13 tragedy in Datia district. The one member commission headed by retired High Court judge Rakesh Saxena was asked to submit its report within two months, but the deadline has now been extended to February 15.
Speaking to The Indian Express, advocate Mukesh Gupta, who is representing Jilha Panchayat CEO Sandeep Maken, questioned the authenticity of some of the affidavits, including those filed by the survivors, claiming they had been manipulated to ensure a clean chit to the administration. Gupta alleged that the government was not serious about the judicial probe and had not even appointed the presenting officer as yet.
The stampede is also being probed by the CBI on the direction of the High Court.