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Temple stampede: MP govt suspends four top officials after EC go-ahead

The toll rose to 115 with the fear of an increase as information about casualties came in.

On Monday night,the Madhya Pradesh government suspended Datia collector Sanket Bhondve,SP Chandrashekhar Solanki,sub-divisional magistrate (Seondha) Mahip Tejaswi and sub-divisional police officer B N Basave after getting the go-ahead from the Election Commission (EC).

Director,Skill Development,Jabalpur,M R Raghuraj and AIG (HQ) R K Marathe were posted as the new collector and SP respectively,while Additional Municipal Commissioner M L Daulatani and DSP (EOW) M P Sharma were posted as the new SDM and SDOP respectively.

Earlier in the day,the EC sought a report on the stampede at the Ratangarh Mata temple in Datia district,even as parties in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh traded charges over the stampede tragedy.

The EC said the stampede,allegedly caused due to rumours that a bridge over the Sindh river was about to collapse,had become a law-and-order issue and asked the state home secretary to file a report.

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The toll rose to 115 with the fear of an increase as information about casualties came in.

Congress campaign committee chief Jyotiraditya Scindia,who visited the stampede site,and Union Minister Kamal Nath,however,claimed it was in excess of 200 and accused the BJP government of trying to suppress facts.

CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan,who met injured devotees Monday,had to face the wrath of their relatives who shouted slogans denouncing the government,police and the local administration.


While Chouhan refused to take the blame and concede the opposition demand for his resignation,his party,the BJP,accused the Congress of politicking over corpses.

The CM said a probe commission would be set up Tuesday with a mandate to submit a report within two months. “The government will act within 15 days on the report,’’ he said,without elaborating that a new government would be in place by then.

Scindia and Nath said they expected little from the probe panel as the government had not made public findings of a judicial probe into the 2006 tragedy near the same temple in which more than 50 people were washed away.


Nath alleged the police resorted to baton charge to facilitate smooth passage of a BJP leader to the temple.

Scindia went a step ahead,accusing the police of throwing bodies into the Sindh river. He said the toll could be between 200 and 300.

The Congress leader said the chief minister did not even visit the stampede site and returned after meeting survivors in hospital. He said tractor trolleys should have been stopped 3 km from the site and blamed several temple stampedes on the government violating rules.

Meanwhile,devotees continued to line up for darshan amid elaborate arrangements. Had the arrangements been in place Sunday,the stampede could have been prevented.

First published on: 15-10-2013 at 03:14:45 am
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