2 killed in stampede at musical programme in Bengal

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Kalimpong (WB), Jan 5 (PTI) Two women were killed and four others injured when a stampede broke out as a large number of people tried to enter the venue of a musical programme in West Bengal's Kalimpong district, police said on Tuesday.

There was a rush to move into the Mela Ground here leading to the stampede near the ticket counter, Kalimpong Superintendent of Police Harikrishna Pai said.

'Six persons were injured in the stampede and taken to the district hospital. Two of them succumbed to their injuries. One injured was referred to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital and others are being treated at the Kalimpong facility,' he said.

Asked whether the organisers of the programme that took place on Sunday night were granted permission and following COVID-19 protocols, he said that a case is being registered against them.

Pai said that the district administration has been in touch with the families of the deceased and injured persons and offering all possible assistance.

The two deceased were identified as Anita Cihettri (40) and Banita Gurung(46), both residents of Chandraloke area.

West Bengal Tourism Minister Gautam Deb and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) chairman Anit Thapa met family members of the deceased and handed over cheques of Rs 2 lakh each as assistance to them.

Darjeeling MP Raju Bista wrote to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, requesting her to conduct a judicial investigation into the event and deaths.

'I have been informed that the administration gave permission for a musical programme to be organised, but they did not take adequate precautions to ensure people's safety and social distancing norms as mandated under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the BJP MP alleged in his letter. PTI BDC COR NN NN