Bihar stampede: Bad lighting was one of the reasons behind tragedy?

Patna-StampedThe stampede at Gandhi Maidan which claimed 33 lives and left 29 others injured could have been caused by bad lighting.

According to news reports, the probe panel has suggested that poor lighting at the venue could have been one of the major reason behind the tragic incident.

It has also been pointed out that while thousands of people were expected to attend the event, three out of four gates were chained which escalated the chaos, the reports stated.

The probe is being conducted by state Home Secretary Amir Subhani and police ADG Gupteshwar Pandey.

The incident took place after the burning of the Ravana effigy at the Gandhi Maidan.

Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi ordered a probe into the incident yesterday.

He added that while some people are citing rumours, others are claiming that snapping of a live wire led to the chaos which triggered the incident.

“There must be some reason for the tragedy. Different people whom I talked about the incident are giving different versions. Truth would come out in the probe,” he said.

Police officials also held the damaged ‘cattle guard’ or ‘cattle grid’ installed at the western gate of the vast ground responsible for the incident. People crossing it got trapped in them and fell down.

“There is a ditch and damaged cattle guard there for everybody to see. People could have fell on the ground because of them, leading to asphyxia and deaths,” said Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj.

As the SSP reviewed the footage of CCTV cameras installed by the police around the Gandhi Maidan after the October 27, 2013, bomb blasts at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hunkar Rally, he noticed that no stampede was recorded by the cameras.

“The footage shows a very large mass of people moving and a few people fallen on the ground and others trying to rescue them. People might have fallen due to asphyxiation in that dense crowd. There is no panic fleeing captured by the CCTV cameras. Had it been a stampede people would have been running helter-skelter and in the dense crowd that was there, at least 400 or 500 people would have died,” said Maharaj.

The Patna SSP, however, said that the CCTV images remained inconclusive as there was dim light near the gate and the stretch around. He also added that the ‘high-mast lights’ installed near the Maidan entrance where the incident happened were not working and the cameras had no ‘night vision’ facilities.

Maharaj said the CCTV footage was being analysed thoroughly and that “conspiracy” cannot be ruled out behind the incident.

“We have lodged an FIR regarding the incident and a few persons are being interrogated. We will provide the details later on if anything comes out of it,” added Maharaj.