Bengal: Stampede kills 3 at Suvendu Adhikari's blanket distribution event
Two women and a 12-year-old girl died in a stampede at an event organized by Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) local unit where the leader of Opposition in the state, Suvendu Adhikari, was the chief guest in West Burdwan district's Asansol, West Bengal, on Wednesday evening. Adhikari distributed blankets and left the site at around 6:30 pm, following which the incident occurred.
Here are visuals from the event
Stampede during blanket distribution event organised by BJP leader Jitender Tiwari & attended by LoP #SuvenduAdhikari claimed 3 lives including 1 child in #Asansol #Bengal. Police claim organisers didn’t inform or took any permission for an event where such turnout was expected. pic.twitter.com/Liyktn2AhF— Tamal Saha (@Tamal0401) December 14, 2022
Venue could hold only 1,500 people
Soon after Adhikari left the event, around 5,000 people, most of whom were Hindi-speaking women, thronged the venue to get blankets that at best could accommodate 1,500 people, reported The Telegraph. The venue was a small field adjacent to a temple in Ramkrishna Dangal area, Ward no. 27, represented by BJP's councilor Chaitali Tiwari, wife of former Asansol mayor Jitendra Tiwari.
Organizers pitched it as religious event
All the deceased were rushed to the Asansol district hospital but were declared dead on arrival. They were identified as Chandmani Devi Yadav (54), Jhali Devi Bauri (50), and Preeti Singh (12). Seven injured persons are undergoing treatment. The organizers reportedly planned to distribute 5,000 blankets but the venue couldn't hold that many people. The organizers pitched it as a religious event.
Adhikari claimed police were informed about the event
Intimation to Police regarding the event:- pic.twitter.com/L6r41ontIX— Suvendu Adhikari • শুভেন্দু অধিকারী (@SuvenduWB) December 14, 2022
TMC cornered Adhikari over the mishap
.@SuvenduWB promised us a ‘DECEMBER DHAMAKA’ on the 12th, 14th and 21st.— Abhishek Banerjee (@abhishekaitc) December 14, 2022
THIS IS HOW IT WENT:
•12th DEC - Lalan Sk was found DEAD in CBI CUSTODY.
•14th DEC- 3 INNOCENT LIVES WERE LOST in Asansol due to the chaos created by him.
Is something more TRAGIC in store for DEC 21 ?
Organizers didn't take permission: Police
The Commissioner of Police for Asansol-Durgapur, Sudheer Nilakantham, said the organizers didn't take permission to hold the event. Jitendra Tiwari countered the claim, saying they submitted an application to the police seeking permission on December 3. The police didn't "disallow" them. The ruling Trinamool Congress's (TMC) spokesperson Kunal Ghosh accused Adhikari of playing with the lives of the poor without having any moral responsibility.