Twenty-four people were killed and 50 other got injured in a stampede on an over-crowded Rajghat bridge on the border of Varanasi and Chandauli during a procession of followers of Jai Gurudev sect on Saturday. Varanasi Superintendent of Police City Sudhakar Yadav along with 5 other policemen were suspended from their respective charge following the incident.
Followers of Jai Gurudev, leader of a local sect, were moving in a procession and far too many were on the narrow roads to the Rajghat bridge than sanctioned, say officials. Gurudev, who died in 2012, is among several charismatic self-styled godmen who enjoy cult-like following among thousands of followers.
The names of those suspended along with are– SP Traffic Kamal Kishore, Kotwali Circle Officer Rahul Mishra, Station Officer of Ramnagar police station, Anil Kumar Singh and Incharge of Mughalsarai police station in Chandauli district, Sub-inspector Vinod Yadav have been suspended.
Uttar Pradesh DGP Javeed Ahmed in a conversation with TOI said that the suspension comes due to the “gross failure to anticipate the swelling crowd and make adequate arrangements” by the police for the religious procession.
“They (organisers) had sought permission for 5,000 people but many more people reached and joined the procession. We are investigating crowd management and will take action against those responsible,” said DGP Ahmed.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, MP from Varanasi, expressed anguish over the incident and asked senior officials in Varanasi to take stock of the situation. He also announced a solatium of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those injured. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has directed the Commissioner, Varanasi, to institute a magisterial inquiry into the incident.
He also aanounced an ex gratia of Rs five lakh each to next of kin of those killed and free treatment to the injured, who have been admitted to different hospitals in Varanasi and Chandauli.