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Lauding Yogi For Arrangements, Modi Says When Nehru Was PM, Thousands Were Killed in 1954 Kumbh Stampede

PM Modi alleged that no compensation was paid to the devotees killed in the 1954 Kumbh stampede and the media too refrained from covering it.


Updated:May 1, 2019, 8:37 PM IST
Lauding Yogi For Arrangements, Modi Says When Nehru Was PM, Thousands Were Killed in 1954 Kumbh Stampede
File photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former PM Jawaharlal Nehru.

New Delhi: Praising the Uttar Pradesh government led by Yogi Adityanath for organising a successful Kumbh Mela this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that during 1954’s religious congregation attended by then PM Jawaharlal Nehru, thousands were killed in a stampede.

"When Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was Prime Minister, thousands of people were killed in the Kumbh stampede in Allahabad," PM Modi said at the public meeting in Kaushambi.

The PM alleged that no compensation was paid to the devotees killed in the stampede and the media too refrained from covering it.

“The stampede victims' families' names were never mentioned. Not a single rupee was given to them (as compensation)... It was insensitivity and this sin was committed by the country's first prime minister," PM Modi said.

Veteran photgrapher NN Mukherjee, who had captured the stampede on that day, has described in his memoir the incidents which led to the loss of 1,000 lives.

“I stood on a tower near a barrier at the Sangam Chowki. At around 10.20 am, Pandit Nehru and Rajendra Prasad’s car came in from the Triveni Road, went past the barrier and headed for the Kila Ghat. A large number of onlookers, who had been stopped on both sides of the barrier, began breaking past the barriers down towards the ghat," reads Mukherjee's autobiography.

"A procession of sadhus was moving on the other side of the barrier. The procession went awry due to the influx of the mammoth crowd. When the mob came crashing at the slope of the barricade, it appeared like waves made by standing crops when a storm strikes just before they tumble. Those who fell could not rise again. The cries of “save me, save me” rented the air in all directions as people ran helter-skelter trampling others under their feet,” adds Mukherjee’s memoir.

Mukherjee, who was a photographer with Amrit Bazaar Patrika then, alleges that the administrative officials were insensitive and initially tried to dismiss apprehensions that 1,000 people died in the stampede. “Though more than a thousand people were trampled to death, administrative officials were ignorant and were enjoying tea and snacks at the Government House (today’s Medical College) till four o’clock,” reads his statement.

The photographer wrote that the bureaucrats didn’t allow anyone to capture the burning of the bodies though he succeeded in clicking some pictures only after pretending that he was there to pay his respect to his grandmother for one last time.

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