At least 90 people were injured when a makeshift tent collapsed at the venue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in West Bengal’s Midnapore town on Monday.
According to eyewitnesses, some people had climbed on the iron rods holding up the marquee, causing the structure to collapse. The injured were admitted to Midnapore Medical College and Hospital, BJP leaders said.
Medical superintendent Tanmay Kumar Panja said 90 people were brought to the hospital after the incident. Fourteen were discharged after first-aid, he said. “As of now, 76 people, including 20 women, are undergoing treatment at the hospital,” Panja added.
After addressing the rally, the Prime Minister, accompanied by state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh, went to the hospital and spoke to some of the injured.
Asked about the incident, BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said the poles of the tent fell as the ground was wet after rain. Also, many people climbed atop the tent, he said. Sinha said police and local security personnel should not have allowed supporters to climb atop the tent.
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The Centre has sought a report from the state government on the tent collapse incident.
Sources said the venue for the rally could hold around 70,000 people, but on Monday, the crowd had exceeded its capacity. “It happened all of a sudden. As the structure collapsed, I was hit by a rod and fell on the ground. People ran over me and I lost consciousness,” Swarno Mahato, 55, told The Indian Express. Now in hospital, Mahato said she had come with other women of her village to hear the Prime Minister speak. “We never expected this to happen. Since there were no ambulances on the ground, we requested someone to take my mother-in-law to the hospital on a bike,” said Sumitra, Mahato’s daughter-in-law.
The ruling TMC expressed concern over the incident. “We pray for their early recovery. All assistance and help will be provided to them,” read a statement issued by the party.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, “We pray for the speedy recovery of all those injured at the Midnapore rally today. The government is giving all help for medical treatment.” —With PTI inputs
TMC hits back: BJP lynching, torture syndicate
Kolkata: The TMC on Monday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “syndicate” remark and called the BJP “a lynching and torture syndicate”.
“Who knows better than BJP leaders about syndicate? Your party is a syndicate that peddles religious extremism. Your party is a syndicate for fanatics. Your party is a lynching and torture syndicate…,” read a statement issued by TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee and party spokesperson Derek O’Brien.
“Your party is a syndicate of corruption…BJP leaders should not play with fire. Try as you may to harass us with your agencies, we will not bow down to any syndicate,” it went on to say.
Addressing a rally in Midnapore Town Monday, the prime minister had attacked the ruling TMC, accusing it of running “syndicates” in every sector. —ENS