New Delhi, Jul 17: A day after a canopy collapsed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Midnapore town, police on Tuesday booked the organizers for attempted culpable homicide. At least 90 people were injured in the incident. The state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the contractor and the decorator who built the canopy for Modi’s event has also been booked under Section 308 of Indian Penal Code (IPC).
A police officer said, “A case has been filed against the organisers of the Prime Minister’s event under Section 308 of IPC for attempting to commit culpable homicide. They have also been booked for causing hurt by acts endangering life or personal safety of others.”
The central government has dispatched a Special Protection Group (SPG) team to make an on-the-spot assessment of the mishap. The team will inquire about lapses which led to the accident.
Decorators said that incessant rain for the last three days made the pandal vulnerable and accused the security personnel and volunteers of not taking action in spite of several complaints regarding people climbing up the canopy structure.
“On Monday morning we saw some people climbing up the iron structure of the canopy and waving party flags,” Rajiv Sinha, the decorator, alleged.
“I repeatedly asked the security and local volunteers to remove those men… I do not know what the security guards did. Nobody was listening to them. We were asked to leave the compound at 10 a.m. by the SPG,” he added. The state BJP leadership cited rains and overcrowding for the mishap but blamed the police for not taking necessary security measures or controlling the crowd.
A portion of the makeshift collapsed minutes after PM Modi’s started his address at the Midnapore College ground on Monday afternoon. Modi stopped speaking for a few minutes when the structure collapsed to urge the audience to move to a safer area. He also instructed officials to make arrangements for the treatment of the injured. PM Modi also visited the injured in the hospital after the rally.
(With agency inputs)