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Varanasi stampede: Commission completes 1st round of inquiry

The incident had occurred when the devotees of Jai Gurudev sect were on their way to attend a religious congregation, two km away in Domri village.

Varanasi stampede, Varanasi stampede reasons, Varanasi stampede inquiry, Domri village stampede, varanasi stampede deaths, indian express news Varanasi: Baba Jai Gurudev supporters crossing the crowded Rajghat Bridge for a meeting in Varanasi on Oct 15. A stampede took place at the bridge. (Archive Image)

A judicial commission probing the Varanasi stampede has completed its first round of inquiry as it recorded the statements of over 100 people, including eyewitnesses and organisers. According to sources, the one-man inquiry commission headed by Justice (Retd) Rajmani Chauhan recorded statements of over 100 people, including officials, organisers and villagers, in the Circuit House in Varanasi.

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Eyewitnesses told the commission that the stampede was caused by a rumour that the bridge, which the devotees of Jai Gurudev sect were crossing as part of a religious procession, had collapsed, they said. The committee will be returning to Varanasi on January 27 to record the statements of those remaining, they added. The commission was on a three-day visit to Varanasi to probe the stampede that claimed 25 lives and injured over 100 people on October 15 last year.

On Tuesday, Chauhan had visited the stampede spot, Domri and Katesar villages and talked to the locals. The inquiry commission had summoned nearly 42 officials who were on duty on the day of the incident to record their statements. It had also asked members associated with the sect, who were responsible for organising the religious congregation, to record their statements, sources said.

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Some officials had sent their representatives and a few sent their replies through email to the commission, they said. The incident had occurred when the devotees of Jai Gurudev sect were on their way to attend a religious congregation, two km away in Domri village. 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.

The organisers had earlier accused the district administration of poor crowd management and of not being alert when an increasing number of followers were joining the procession. An FIR was registered against five members of the organising committee for allegedly furnishing false information while seeking permission for taking out procession and holding a two-day camp.

First published on: 06-01-2017 at 08:28:22 pm
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