KOLKATA: At least 90 people were injured after a makeshift tent collapsed following heavy rains, leading to a stampede during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally at Gollegiate Grounds in Midnapore town in Paschim Medinipur district of West Bengal on Monday.“A total of 90 people were admitted to the hospital after the incident, of which 14 were discharged after primary treatment. Of the 76 remaining admitted to the hospital, 56 are men and 20 are women,” said Midnapore Medical College and Hospital superintendent Tanmay Kumar Panja. Sources said that several of the injured were critical and were undergoing surgery.
The collapse of the makeshift tent led to a stampede among people trapped under the structure. The Prime Minister, who witnessed the incident from the dais while delivering his speech, attempted to distract the attention of the crowd from the incident by shouting slogans, fearing that the commotion could lead to a wider stampede. He later met the victims in hospital.
“Due to PM’s visit, excited youth climbed on the makeshift tent while heavy rains during the past couple of days had made the ground soft. Most of the people have been injured due to the stampede caused due to the collapse. Some have been injured in the head. The entire responsibility of the incident is that of the state BJP leadership. We will look into the causes of the incident and initiate a probe to find whether it was a deliberate attempt or an accident,” state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said. Eyewitnesses said that the injuries were limited as the structure had crashed gradually.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted that the state government would provide medical treatment to the victims. “We pray for the speedy recovery of all those injured at the Midnapore rally today. The government is giving all help for medical treatment,” she said. Meanwhile, 15 police officials, including an additional superintendent of police, a sub-inspector and civic volunteers, were injured when BJP workers attacked them en route to Modi’s rally in Midnapore, at Chowinghee in Kharagpur on Monday. Sources revealed that the mob turned violent after the police asked them to walk till the venue due to traffic congestion. The injured have been admitted to Kharagpur sub-divisional hospital.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday targeted West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, saying that the ‘syndicate raj’ in the state will soon be over and the ruling Trinamool Congress should read the writing on the wall. Speaking at Krishak Sabha at Midnapore town of Paschim Medinipur district of West Bengal, Modi said that the people of Bengal were waiting to remove shackles, an indirect reference to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. “People of Bengal have to be united like Tripura to uproot the syndicate raj,” he added.