Jharkhand stampede: Deoghar DC, SP suspended

ArrayRanchi, Aug 10 (IANS) The Jharkhand government suspended four officials including the Deoghar deputy commissioner and police superintendent after Monday’s stampede in which 11 pilgrims were killed and over 50 others injured.

“Deputy Commissioner Amit Kumar and Superintendent of Police T. Murugan have been suspended with immediate effect,” home secretary N.N. Pandey told reporters.

The stampede took place when pilgrims arrived to offer prayers at the famous Baba Baidhyanath Shiva temple in Deoghar district.

A high-level probe team headed by Pandey visited Deoghar, around 300 km from Ranchi, took stock of the situation, and submitted a report to the government.

Based on the report, four officials, including the deputy commissioner and police superintendent, were suspended.

Rahul Purwar has been appointed the special deputy commissioner and M.L. Meena the special police superintendent of Deoghar.

Over 100,000 people were in queue, with many of them waiting since Sunday night to get into the temple, when the stampede took place.

During the ‘Shravan’ month of the Hindu calendar, more than 30 lakh people offer prayers at the Baidyanath temple. On Mondays, the number goes up substantially up to around two lakh.

The Jharkhand High Court on Monday took suo motu cognizance of the stampede, as well as of the killing of five women by villagers after branding them witches.

Leader of Opposition Hemant Soren blamed mismanagement by local authorities for the stampede, while Deoghar Lok Sabha member from the BJP Nishikant Dubey blamed successive state governments for the incident.

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