PM announces Rs.200,000 compensation for stampede victims

New Delhi, March 5 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday condoled the deaths of 63 people in a stampede in an Uttar Pradesh ashram and announced Rs.200,000 compensation from the Prime Minister’s National Relief fund for the next of kin of the victims.

‘A tragedy occurred yesterday in the temple in district Pratapgarh. The issue, I believe, has been raised by a concerned member in the Rajya Sabha yesterday. I join all honorable members in conveying our heartfelt condolences to the families of deceased and wish speedy recovery to all those who have suffered injuries,’ Manmohan Singh said in the Lok Sabha.

‘We have decided to make, from the Prime Minister’s National Relief fund, an ex-gratia payment of Rs.2 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs.50,000 to those seriously injured,’ he announced.

At least 63 women and children died and over 64 were injured Thursday when the gate of an ashram belonging to spiritual guru Kripaluji Maharaj near Kunda town in Pratapgarh district collapsed as thousands gathered to receive gifts.

A religious feast organised by the guru to mark the death anniversary of his wife had drawn thousands of devotees – largely very poor people – due to the announcement that along with food, the visitors would also be given some cash and two utensils.

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