8 killed, 4 severely injured at Naidu's public meeting
DECCAN CHRONICLE | AVINASH P SUBRAMANYAM
TIRUPATI: Tragedy struck Telugu Desam (TD) chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu’s public meeting in Kandukur town of SPSR Nellore district, as eight people died and four others were critically injured in a stampede at the NTR Circle, the
venue for the meeting, on Wednesday.
When Naidu started addressing the crowd, there was a sudden surge of the public towards the podium, which led to the stampede. Some people also fell into a nearby drain, eyewitnesses said.
TD leaders immediately stopped the meeting and rushed the victims to a hospital. Eyewitnesses said that while a few died of injuries, others died due to suffocation.
The meeting was organised by the former chief minister as part of the party’s ‘Idemi Karma Mana Rashtraniki’ campaign, launched to protest against the alleged anti-people policies of the Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy-led state government.
Eyewitnesses said that some people were injured while trying to escape, while some were hurt while trying to help a woman who fell into the drainage canal. Meanwhile, a few others also jumped into the canal to escape the rush, they said.
Ramana Reddy of Kandukur, an eyewitness, said there were more than 10,000 people gathered near the NTR statue to listen to Naidu. He said it was a three-road junction and that the stampede took place in a narrow street, which is part of the three roads. "The crowd ignored the repeated appeals of Naidu to restrain overenthusiastic party followers from surging towards his vehicle," he said.
Naidu stopped the meeting, rushed to the hospital and interacted with the relatives of the victims. He also announced an aid of `10 lakh to the families of the deceased and promised to extend all possible support to the victims.
The deceased were identified as M. Chinna Kondaiah of Amma Palem, D. Ravindra of Athmakuru, Purushottam of Kandukur, Kalavakuri Yanadi of Kondamudusu Palem, Yatagiri Vijay of Ulavapadu, K. Raja of Kandukur, Ramaiah of Gulla Palem and Rajeswari.
Later at the rally, he expressed his grief and said that such an incident happened for the first time during his meeting. He attributed the incident to destiny.
In a statement, TD national general secretary Nara Lokesh said, "The death of TDP workers is a great loss to the party. My deepest condolences to their families. We have made arrangements to provide better treatment to the injured. I pray for their recovery. Telugu Desam Party will support the families of the deceased in all ways."