Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday met the grieving family of those killed and injured in an accident during a religious programme here.
Gehlot, along with state Health Minister Raghu Sharma, Revenue Minister Harish Chaudhary, Energy Minister B D Kalla, and others visited Jasol village and paid floral tributes to those who lost their lives in the tent collapse.
At least 14 people were killed and about 50 injured after a tent fell on them due to strong winds during a religious programme in Barmer district of Rajasthan, police said.
A ‘Ram Katha’ was organized at a school ground near Rani Bhatiyani temple in Jasol area of the district when the tent was uprooted by strong winds trapping the people sitting under it, Additional Superintendent of Police, Khinv Singh, said.
Religious programmes to celebrate Lord Ram’s life and ideals through stories related to him, known as ‘Ram Katha’, are common in several parts of the country.
Around 14 persons have died in the incident, he added. Hundreds of people were attending the event. He said that the injured were rushed to different hospitals.
Eyewitnesses claimed that the tent got uprooted due to the winds and hovered for a few seconds in the air before collapsing. The person leading the ‘Ram Katha’, Murlidhar Maharaj, stopped midway and asked people to leave as the tent started to collapse. He scurried from the stage within seconds, following which the tent collapsed, leading to a stampede-like situation, they said.
No immediate information was available about the condition of Maharaj.
A shopkeeper said that locals who rushed to rescue the victims felt current in the structure of the tent. However, they rescued those trapped inside and took them to hospitals in private vehicles and mini-vans.
The programme was organized by Rani Bhatiyani Mandir Sansthan. It started on Saturday and was meant to continue till June 30.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the deaths of the spectators and tweeted, “Collapse of a ‘Pandaal’ in Rajasthan’s Barmer is unfortunate. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and I wish the injured a quick recovery.”
Collapse of a ‘Pandaal’ in Rajasthan’s Barmer is unfortunate. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and I wish the injured a quick recovery: PM @narendramodi
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) June 23, 2019
Union Home Minister Amit Shah Sunday expressed pain over the loss of lives. “Pained to know about the loss of lives due to collapse of a Pandaal in Barmer, Rajasthan. I express my deepest condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly,” he tweeted.
Pained to know about the loss of lives due to collapse of a Pandaal in Barmer, Rajasthan. I express my deepest condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly.
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) June 23, 2019
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also condoled the victims’ deaths in a tweet:
“Saddened at the deaths after the tent collapse in Barmer, Rajasthan. My condolences to the grieving families. Our prayers that the injured recover quickly.”
Saddened at the deaths after the “tent collapse” in Barmer, Rajasthan. My condolences to the grieving families. Our prayers that the injured recover quickly
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) June 23, 2019
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has taken stock of the situation from Jaipur and ordered a probe into the incident. He also expressed grief and condoled the deaths. He said that rescue operations were being done by the district administration. He also directed officials to ensure proper relief works and treatment of those injured.
Earlier, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Barmer MP Kailash Chaudhary visited hospitals to enquire about the condition of the injured.
Union minister of state for agriculture Kailash Chaudhary, who is the local MP, said that he was leaving for Barmer from Delhi to meet the families of the victims and the injured.
The state government has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each for the families of those killed and up to Rs 2 lakh for those who were injured. An inquiry has also been ordered, which will be led by Jodhpur Divisional Commissioner B L Kothari.