ADGP (special branch) AK Sinha (extreme right) at the ashram in Deoghar on Tuesday. Picture by Arun Keshri
Dumka, Sept. 25: Two of the victims killed in yesterday’s stampede at Deoghar were identified today, even as district authorities hinted that negligence on the part of Satsang Ashram management led to the tragedy in which nine lives were lost.
Senior police officers, including additional director general of police (special branch) A.K. Sinha and IG (Dumka division) Arun Oraon, visited the ashram today to gather facts about the incident.
The stampede took place as one lakh devotees who had gathered outside the Satsang Ashram since early morning, tried to enter the venue of the scheduled mass prayer to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Sri Sri Anukul Chandra Thakur as soon as the main gate opened at 5am.
IG Arun Oraon, who arrived in Deoghar yesterday and met the injured devotees who were being treated at the ashram hospital, said the ADGP would submit his report to the DGP, but declined to give details.
“Police action would be initiated after submission of the report of the magisterial inquiry conducted by the Deoghar SDO (civil) Uma Shankar Singh,” Oraon said.
The SDO had not finalised his report till late evening. But, prima facie evidence, he said, pointed to negligence on the part of the ashram management.
“The report is being compiled and will be submitted either this evening or tomorrow,” Uma Shankar said.
The two victims identified today were Shivshankar Prasad of Patna and Namita Ghosh of Howrah in Bengal. After post-mortems were conducted, the district administration arranged for transportation of the bodies.
According to sources, officials were focusing on the delay on the part of the ashram authorities in informing the local administration about the incident, in what appears to be a bid to hush up the matter.
Relatives of victims claimed that even they were kept in the dark about the seriousness of the condition of their near ones and the gate of the hospital was locked once the injured were admitted.
“My wife was alive after the stampede. She was breathing. But no step was taken by the ashram to ensure immediate help which could have saved her life,” alleged Girish Kumar Thakur, husband of deceased Pratima Kumari.
Thakur also alleged that he was not allowed to shift his wife to another hospital.