Congress marathon in Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly criticised by leaders, children's body and general public; here's why
A women's marathon in Bareilly quickly turned into a stampede-like situation, injuring three people; the police has filed an FIR as the Congress shifted the blame to the local administration
“What were they thinking.”
“Where are the COVID-19 protocols.”
These were just a few reactions to a viral video, showing a stampede-like situation, which occurred during a marathon organised by the Congress as part of its election campaign in Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh.
Here’s what happened and why it has generated a furore on social media.
Marathon turns chaotic
On Tuesday, the Congress had organised a 'women's marathon' in Bareilly as a part of its 'Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon' (I am a girl and I can fight) poll campaign in Uttar Pradesh where Assembly elections are due this year.
In visuals, hundreds of women and teenage girls were seen without masks at the marathon in UP's Bareilly.
As they started the run, a few women in the front tripped and fell to the ground, leading to a brief scare as more crowds from the rear pushed those in the front.
— ANI UP/Uttarakhand (@ANINewsUP) January 4, 2022
The situation almost led to a stampede, leaving three girls injured.
The event quickly turned into a political dogfight with the Congress, surprisingly, blaming the local administration.
State Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh was quoted as telling news agency PTI that it was a conspiracy hatched by the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government. He said, “The district administration knew that the run was being held and did not cooperate."
The incident was a "fallout of laxity on the part of the local administration", Singh added.
"The district administration did not cooperate as far as the issue of security was concerned and the entire incident smells of a conspiracy hatched by the BJP," the Congress leader said.
Congress leader and former Bareilly mayor Supriya Aron, who organised the event, said there is nothing to worry.
"Thousands in crowds also went to Vaishno Devi. What about that? See, it's a very human thing. These are schoolgirls and they only wanted to come out for a bit. But if anyone is offended for any reason, I want to apologise on behalf of the Congress."
— Kanwardeep singh (@KanwardeepsTOI) January 4, 2022
Netizens quickly outraged over the incident with some asking if the 'second wave of COVID-19 didn't teach us a lesson'.
Instead of going for vaccination these kids went for marathon. Why!!!!
Second wave didn't teach us a lesson or what ♀️ https://t.co/SISwaYPg7D
— Devikaa (@devikaamathur) January 5, 2022
Another Twitter user slammed the 'irresponsible behaviour' of the Congress.
— A_Verma (@A_Verma05187) January 4, 2022
Priyanka Gandhi VADRA SHAME on you and on your family https://t.co/KBnpzboizs
— Anil Kumar Rawlley (@AnilRawlley) January 4, 2022
Police step in
The Bareilly Police has filed an FIR against Congress district chief Mirza Ashfaque Saqlaini and other unidentified persons.
Bareilly Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Rohit Singh Sajwan was quoted by IANS as saying, “A case was lodged on Tuesday night against the organisers of the marathon after a probe by the district administration. A police officer said that three girls fell and sustained injuries during the marathon.”
The case has been lodged under IPC sections 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 270 (Malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and various other sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act.
The SSP said, “We will identify others responsible for the event during further investigation.”
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) also took suo-moto cognisance of the incident.
In a letter to the Bareilly district magistrate, NCPCR asked the district magistrate to submit an action taken report within 24 hours.
"The commission has taken suo moto cognisance from a news report wherein it has been brought to the notice of the commission that a ‘women marathon’ event was organised by the Congress in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh wherein during the programme, due to stampede-like situation, many children fell on each other. It is also noticed by the commission that the slippers and shoes of these children also got scattered," read the letter written by the Principal Private Secretary to NCPCR Chairperson Dharmendra Bhandari.
“An action taken report with regard to the status of treatment of the injured children in the said incident may please be furnished to the commission within 24 hours and a detailed fact-finding enquiry report may also be shared with the commission within 7 days of receipt of this letter,” the letter stated.
The letter also claimed that inviting children in such political activities appears to be in violation of Section 75 of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, and also a violation of COVID-19 guidelines issued by the state government.
With inputs from agencies
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