In a very surprising move, a high-level probe into the alleged collapse of a marquee at PM Narendra Modi’s rally in West Bengal, Midnapore on July 17, has pointed fingers at the West Bengal government.
As per the probe, the WB government led by Mamata Banerjee is involved in the collapse of the marquee at the rally which resulted in 90 people being injured. The probe also points fingers towards the local authorities.
The Probe findings
The probe has accused the local authorities and the state government of causing lapses that led to the said collapse. As per the sources, the absence of any senior police official at the venue has been questioned. A senior official said, “It has been established scientifically that none of the senior police officers had turned up at the rally venue to oversee security arrangements”.
Moreover, the probe has also highlighted the non-cooperative approach adopted by the WB government right from the initial stage of planning for the rally. In addition, the probe also raises question on the state public works department’s stability certificate given to the said tent which collapsed. The stability certificate was also given to the stage which was erected just five days prior to the rally even when it rained heavily.
The probe has revealed that only one screw was used for pinning the cast-iron pipe to the ground when usually 4 such sews are required. Moreover, no additional support was provided to the structure when it was well known that the ground was wet and soggy. Not enough police officials were recruited for the PM’s rally within the 5 kms radius of the function. An official further said, “When the tent collapsed, the entire state administration went missing. How can they absolve themselves of this.”
The probe also said that it is the state government’s responsibility to provide security in the outer layers of the function to the Prime Minister in which the WB state police failed miserably.
As per the probe, even the needed logistical help was not provided to the advance security team that visited the state 2 weeks ahead of the PM’s visit.
However, the local authorities have refuted the claims of the probe saying that over 1,000 officials were recruited for the rally and proper cooperation was offered to the security team.
This probe has resulted in a fresh bout of challenge between Mamata Banerjee and the central government. The state government is accusing SPG and the central government of pinning the blame on the local authorities.
A case has also been registered against the state BJP unit as well as the contractor who was hired to erect the tent. Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh while talking on the matter said, “What happened at the rally was an accident. We lacked experience in holding such a big rally. We even failed to predict the size of the crowd.”