Eye witnesses of Ratangarh temple stampede made bloodcurdling revelations, alleging police of throwing injured but alive children into the river.
The death toll of temple stampede in Ratangarh rose to 115, as per police data, as search operations were called off for more victims on Monday.
About150,000 pilgrims had congregated at the temple in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday to celebrate the end of Navratri.
As per police officials, devotees thronging towards the temple across a long, solid bridge panicked when some railings broke, prompting the stampede.
According to reports, many victims were crushed whereas others drowned when they fell or jumped into the far-flowing Sindh river, swollen by heavy rains. Rescuers had combed the river in the search for victims.
Images taken soon after the mishap showed bodies of women and children on the overpass, with leftover travel bags, and food and water containers scattered.
Witnesses alleged that police had ignited the panic by resorting to baton charge to try to control the crowd. However, police has denied these allegations.
Victims have made shocking revelations about the horrendous and atrocious actions of the police personnel, deployed as rescuers at the incident site.
As reported by the Times news network, an eyewitness to the Ratangarh stampede Rajushree Yadav, 35, a member of the police gram raksha samiti said, “I heard pilgrims screaming on the bridge that police were dumping bodies and throwing injured but alive children into the river. I rescued six children, including one from the river.”
Reportedly, other eye witnesses revealed, “I have seen policemen dumping children into the river. It was a heart-wrenching scene. I counted 175 bodies on the spot and I am ready to testify before any court”, “I fell on my knee and begged the police to allow me to take the body of my five-year-old brother killed in the stampede but they did not allow me to take my brother’s body home. Instead they pushed me off the bridge saying I too should die”, “I was there on the bridge and saw policemen dumping over two dozen pilgrims, some of them alive, into the river”.
Victims have also alleged the cops of stealing money and valuables from the bodies before hurling them off the bridge and also taking three truck loads of bodies to an unrevealed site.
There are also allegations of police taking bribe from truck and bus drivers for permitting them to ply on the route.
These are bloodcurdling disclosures which have not been refuted by the police out rightly. Though, police on duty said nobody drowned, but, bodies are appearing as far as seven kilometres downstream from bridge where the stampede happened.
When questioned about the same, reportedly DGP Nandan Kumar Dubey said, “We are investigating certain allegations, if anything is found, we would certainly take action.
Even Congress leader and federal minister of state for Power, Jyotiraditya Scindia said on October 15, while addressing a rally in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh that the figure of victims was much more than the number quoted by the state government, between 300 and 400 pilgrims have died there.
Congress leader Digvijay Singh tweeted “Reasons for Ratangarh disaster? Police was charging Rs. 200 from each tractor and allowing in no traffic zone. Good Governance in MP?
Stampede at religious places are common in India. In February this year, a stampede at the world’s biggest religious festival killed 36 Hindu devotees.
The Ratangarh temple was built by Hindu warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji after defeating the Muslim Mughals, who ruled most of India for 600 years.
This is the second fatal stampede at the same place in seven years. Earlier, a stampede occurred in 2006 on the same 400 metre bridge and 50 devotees were swept to death as they jumped into the river to escape the stampede.