PATNA: After the Ravan badh at Gandhi Maidan nobody ever thought that a great tragedy was awaiting them.
Even Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manji was present at the Gandhi Maidan where people watched an arrow setting the 60-feet tall effigy of Ravan into flames.
Around 7 pm even as the crowd attending the concluding function of Dusshera started to disperse from the ground, the commotion at the unguarded exit point turned into a stampede.
The incident occurred near the Southern exit located close to the exhibition road.
Sukhdev Prasad, who was desperately searching his eight-year-old son told Express that the unmanned gate was the sole reason since the crowd had become unmanageable.
The poor lighting further worsened the situation. And women and children accounted for half of the casualties at ther PMCH.
Slippers, shoes and footwear were seen strewn on a 500 metre stretch as people tried to flee from the scene.
“There was so much rush towards the exit gate that several women and children were run over in the frenzy,” Patna District Magistrate Manish Kumar Verma said.
Meanwhile, the situation at the PMCH remained pathetic since it was hardly equipped to deal with such a situation especially on a festival day.
Thousands of relatives of the dead and injured thronged the emergency ward where private securitymen and policemen were facing a tough situation trying to handle the crowd.
Ramanuj Singh, relative of an injured young boy, who was inconsolable like many others said, “There is no information sharing system and our relative is at the mercy of God.”
He blamed politicians for their failure to ensure foolproof security arrangements for them and leaving common people to the mercy of God.
Although several doctors voluntarily joined in the efforts to provide succour to the victims and their relatives, with some voluntary organisations also providing ambulances, a pall of gloom prevailed at the PMCH with grieving kin fighting to hold back tears.
Governor Expresses Grief
Governor D Y Patil has expressed grief over the incident and prayed for faster recovery of the injured, a statement from Raj Bhawan said.
Actor-politician and Patna MP Shatrughan Sinha expressed sorrow over the incident and criticised the district administration for improper preparation for the occasion. He said an impartial probe should bring the guilty to book.
RJD president Lalu Prasad has expressed condolence. He said prima facie it appears to be “lapse” of the administration. He demanded stern action against those found guilty for the lapses.
Patna Commissioner N Vijaylakshmi, who is in PMCH, said that a process of identification of victims was on. Their photographs were being taken, she said.
Deputy Superintendent of PMCH Sudhansu Singh said that all the stampede victims were being treated at the emergency ward of the hospital.
Health Secretary Anand Kishore, who is camping in the PMCH to supervise treatment of the injured, said that over 50 doctors are looking after those injured at PMCH, he said, adding that all the patients would be provided free-of-cost treatment at PMCH.
Also Read: President Condoles Deaths in Patna Stampede