24 Hurt After Canopy Collapses At PM’s Bengal Rally
PM Narendra Modi visited the injured in hospital after a canopy collapsed while he was addressing a rally at West Bengal’s Midnapore.
MIDNAPORE, WEST BENGAL: July 16, 2018
At least 24 people were injured at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally today in West Bengal, when a marquee collapsed on a section of the crowd in the middle of his speech, in what is being described as a major security breach. PM Modi appeared emotional when he visited the injured in hospital, reported news agency ANI.
The cast iron columns were put up to shelter the crowd from rain at the rally in Midnapore. As a portion of the huge tent started collapsing, he stopped his speech to urge people to be safe and ordered his security personnel to take care of those injured. “Those who have climbed up, please get down, all of you….please climb down. Those standing up there, please get down. Don’t run,” PM Modi appealed, asking people to get off
the stage and the poles.
The injured were taken to hospital on motorcycles and even by the Prime Minister’s doctor, Special Protection Group personnel and on an ambulance that follows his convoy.
The BJP’s IT cell in-charge Amit Malviya tweeted that an injured woman asked the PM for an autograph and he obliged.
It had been raining heavily since morning and was drizzling at the time the tent collapsed in the afternoon. The shaky structure was weakened further as people tried to climb the poles for a glimpse of the Prime Minister.
Many of the injured are believed to be women.
Union minister SS Ahluwalia, one the two BJP parliamentarians in Bengal, denied any mismanagement and said the tent collapsed under its own weight. “There were so many enthusiastic people. Just like booth jam, people were not allowed to come to the rally,” he said.
Officials called the incident a major security lapse and questioned whether the event and its venue was cleared after a government structural engineer’s go-ahead.
“Over Rs. 350 crore is spent each year on the PM’s security and if the venue of the most protected person is not structurally secured…,” an official said.