Police standing at the site where the stampede took place
The Madhya Pradesh government has suspended 21 officials, including the district magistrate and the top policeman of Datia district, where 115 people were killed in a temple stampede on Sunday.
These officials have been accused of negligence. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will set up a judicial commission today to investigate the stampede on a bridge near the famous Ratangarh temple, as lakhs of people visited it on the ninth day of the Navratra festival.
The commission will investigate some grave allegations against cops who were deployed at the site. A senior BJP minister in the state admitted yesterday that "there were some lapses by the police."
But witnesses have told stories of unimaginable horror. They have alleged that as they moved in queues to reach the temple, the rumour that a portion of the bridge was about to collapse triggered the stampede. Some have alleged that the rumour was spread by cops, a charge denied by the police.
A police lathicharge added to the chaos - cops say they were trying to ensure people moved in orderly queues.
As those on the bridge clung precariously to railings to avoid being crushed, some allege that they saw policemen throw dead bodies into the Sind river flowing below. Some have alleged that cops looted people in the melee.
Survivors have also claimed that help arrived too late. For many of the injured, they said, a one hour delay in getting to hospital proved fatal.
The Congress has demanded the resignation of the BJP chief minister of the state, which will vote for a new Assembly on November 25. The BJP has accused the Congress of "playing politics on corpses."
In 2006, a stampede had killed 50 people at exactly the same spot.