January 29, 2017 4:58:10 pm
A judicial commission probing the Varanasi stampede has begun its second round of inquiry in which the statements of eyewitnesses, organisers and officials are being recorded.
The one-man inquiry commission headed by Retired judge of Allahabad High Court Justice Rajmani Chauhan had begun the probe in Varanasi on Saturday, officials said.
The commission is on a two-day visit to Varanasi to probe the stampede in which as many as 25 people, mostly women, were killed and over 100 injured, while crossing the overcrowded Ganga bridge.
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The incident had occurred when the devotees of Jai Gurudev sect were on their way to attend a religious congregation, two km away in a village in Chandauli district. More than a lakh people had participated in the procession that was heading to the religious camp of Jai Gurudev sect. However, permission had been sought only for 3000-5000 people.
Following the incident, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minster Akhilesh Yadav had constituted a one-man inquiry commission to probe the stampede.
Justice (Retd) Chauhan had summoned nearly 42 officials, who were on duty the day the incident occurred to record their statements. The commission had earlier this month visited Varanasi between January 3 to 6 to probe the stampede incident and completed its first round of inquiry with recording statements of over 100 people, including eyewitnesses and organisers.
However, Chauhan while talking to mediapersons here has said that so far only one official from Chandauli district had appeared before the commission to record his statement and no other officials turned up before the commission to record their statements.
He said that due to being engaged in the Assembly election duties, most of the officials had requested to extend the dates for appearing before the commission (to record their statements), to which the commission had given them one more chance and it will be returning again to Varanasi for holding its third round of inquiry.
Chauhan said the commission may extend its date of probe for nearly six more months and it is likely to return again on February 20, for its third round of inquiry. He made an appeal to the people including mediapersons that if they had any video footages or photographs taken at the time of the incident, then they may provide it to the commission.
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