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Cong, BJP spar over temple mishap

As the death toll in the stampede during Navratri festivities near a temple in Madhya Pradesh’s Datia district climbed to 115 on Monday, Congress targeted Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan demanding his resignation for the ‘man-made’ tragedy.

The stampede, which also left over 100 injured, was triggered by rumours on Sunday that a river bridge the devotees were crossing was about to collapse.

‘So far, we have received reports of 115 deaths in the stampede,’ deputy inspector general (DIG) D K Arya told from Ratangarh.

The DIG said a number of people, who had carried away the bodies of their near and dear ones, are now turning up for autopsy, which is mandatory for seeking compensation.

An inquiry commission would be set up within the next two days to probe the stampede near the Ratangarh temple, Chouhan said after meeting injured persons at a hospital in Datia.

Accusing the state government of ‘misgoverning’ which led to the stampede, opposition Congress demanded that the chief minister step down.

In Delhi, party spokesperson Ajay Maken said the tragedy was ‘man-made’ which could have been stopped.

‘A stampede had happened over five years ago at a similar place which left many people injured. The MP government learnt no lessons from it. Its misgovernance and rampant corruption lies at the roots of the tragedy. It should take moral responsibility and the CM should resign,’ Maken said.

Datia district’s chief medical officer RS Gupta said that autopsies on 111 bodies were conducted till morning.

Terming the Ratangarh stampede as unfortunate, BJP rued that Congress was playing ‘politics over bodies’ and demanded that the government plan out full-proof mechanisms for avoiding such incidents in future.

Condoling the death of more than 100 people, BJP said it is a ‘big tragedy’ and called for steps to prevent occurrence of such tragedies in future.

The party hit out at the Congress for demanding Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s resignation over the issue, saying it is doing so as assembly elections are round the corner.

‘Congress leaders from Kamal Nath to Jyotiraditya Scindia, Digvijaya Singh, Ajay Maken and Satyavrat Chaturvedi are doing politics over dead bodies. We condemn this attitude of the Congress... What needs to be discussed at the moment are the measures that should be taken to deal with it,’ BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

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