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Patna Chhath stampede: Nitish orders probe

November 20, 2012 14:38 IST

Bihar Home Secretary Amir Subhani on Tuesday began an inquiry into the stampede that caused the death of at least 18 people, mostly children and women, during the Chhath festival at the Adalatganj Ghat on the Ganga River in Patna on late Monday evening, officials said.

An official from the chief minister's office told that a team led by Subhani has launched the inquiry into the stampede.

"An inquiry would be conducted to identify the cause of stampede that resulted in the incident," Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said while addressing a press conference at 11 pm on Monday.

However, Nitish refuted reports that the deaths were caused due to a bamboo bridge collapse.

"The incident took place because of stampede caused by a heavy rush of devotees," Nitish said. "He has also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the kin of victims," an official from the chief minister's office said.

Hundreds of angry people, mostly family members and relatives of those killed, protested against the government and shouted slogans against the CM and the local administration at the Patna Medical College and Hospital, where the victims' bodies were brought for postmortem. The injured too have been admitted there for treatment.

A group of protestors were seen pelting stones at the police and hospital buildings. Some angry protestors chased Amir Subhani and Anjani Kumar Singh, principal secretary to the chief minister, when they reached the hospital to monitor the situation.

Meanwhile, the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal has blamed the government, especially its administration for the tragedy. RJD Member of Parliament Ram Kirpal Yadav has demanded resignation of the chief minister after the incident.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who was busy celebrating Chhath with his family in New Delhi, is likely to arrive in Patna on Tuesday to meet family members of those killed and visit injured in hospitals.

M I Khan in Patna