Pratapgarh stampede

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Coordinates: 25°37′9″N 81°41′12″E / 25.61917°N 81.68667°E / 25.61917; 81.68667[1] The Pratapgarh stampede was an incident that occurred on 4 March 2010, at Ram Janki temple in Kunda, Uttar Pradesh, India, that killed at least 63 people[2] and seriously injured over 100 more.[3][4][5] The incident occurred as 10,000 people attended the temple to receive free items, such as clothes and food, on the first anniversary of the death of the wife of Kripalu Maharaj.[6]

There were initially conflicting reports about the death toll, with some saying 61, some 63,[7] and others 65.[2]

Cause

An unfinished temple gate fell,[8] which may have led to a panic among the crowd and to the stampede.[9] Some were crushed beneath the gate while others were trampled by other members of the crowd.[9] The cause of the gate's fall was not immediately clear,[10] but it may have been torn down by the crowd.[6] This year's lunch had increased attendance due to "the prior announcement that some utensils would also be distributed along with lunch", a lawmaker said.[11] A nearby tea stall owner, witness to the stampede, reported people fearing electrocution may have caused panic. As rumours broke out that a live electric wire was in the area and had already electrocuted someone, the crowd rushed towards the under-construction gate causing it to crash.[12]

Stampede

Of the more than 63 deaths, there were at least 37 children[6][9] and 26 women, who collapsed onto their children and were trampled themselves.[9] There are no reports of any deaths or injuries to men.[13][14] Many of the dead were poor villagers taking advantage of the offer of free food.[15] Witnesses said police exacerbated the incident by beating people with lathis.[11]

Aftermath

Indian television aired images of stones being thrown.[16] People and media complained about the lack of crowd control techniques at the temple thereby exaggerating the death toll.[15] Many hundreds of weeping friends and relatives went to a local hospital upon hearing of the stampede.[6][9] An inquiry was asked for by the Uttar Pradesh state government.[17] A report is expected to be finalised within 48 hours.[17] The ashram remained closed since the incident and large number of policemen including armed personnel were stationed outside its gates.[12] President of Indian National Congress and chairman of ruling United Progressive Alliance, Sonia Gandhi, condoled the deaths of women and children in stampede.[18] Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh announced a compensation of INR200000 () to relatives of those died in stampede and INR50000 () to those who were seriously injured.[19]

Spiritual guru Kripaluji Maharaj's Bhakti Dham Ashram, where 63 people lost their lives and 64 were injured Thursday in one of the worst stampedes, Sunday doled out a lakh rupees each to the families of the dead and Rs. 50,000 to each of the injured.[20]

References

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