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Bihar's opposition walks out of assembly over Chhath stampede

Posted on Dec 05, 05:16PM | IANS

Opposition legislators Wednesday staged a walkout from the Bihar assembly after the state government gave a clean chit to the administration over the death of 18 people in a stampede here during the Chhath festival last month.

"When the state government denied administrative failure in its inquiry report on the stampede, the entire opposition staged a walkout from the state assembly," Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui said after taking part in a special debate on the issue.

"The government's inquiry report, by the home secretary, mainly blamed rumours for the stampede that caused the death of 18 people, mostly children and women, and failed to say anything about administrative inadequacy," Siddiqui said.

Siddiqui told IANS that the opposition stand was vindicated by the government's inquiry report and said it protected officials responsible for the incident.

"We have been saying that the stampede incident took place due to the negligence and mismanagement of the administration," he said.

Siddiqui recalled how Chief Minister Nitish Kumar refuted reports that a bamboo bridge collapse caused the stampede.

At least 18 people, including children and women, were killed and many others were injured in a stampede during the Chhath celebrations in Patna last month.

Celebrated six days after Diwali, Chhath is dedicated to the Sun god. During the festival, married women observe fast for 36 hours, and devotees offer wheat, milk, sugarcane, bananas and coconuts to the Sun god.