The stampede that happened at the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) on Saturday has left many shaken since it left around 60 people injured and 4 students tragically dying.
State health minister Veena George said “As per the initial findings from the autopsy report, the cause of death was asphyxiation” and the Kochi Police is currently investigating into the matter.
According to some reports, the police have claimed that CUSAT and the organising student body neither took prior permission from the police for the event but since it was an in-house campus event, permission was not required.
Although, as per CUSAT VC Dr P G Sankaran the police had been informed verbally about the event taking place.
What Did The Witness Say?
A witness called Sijimol KK, working in the office of the principal of the engineering department at the institute, recalled their experience of what happened on the day of the stampede in a Hindustan Times report.
She explained how having worked at CUSAT for several years now, she knew about the auditorium’s infrastructure and that it had a standing capacity of 3,000 people but didn’t have any seats or benches in it.
Sijimol stated how “The gate of the auditorium was held slightly open to let in those who had registered for the tech fest, including those of the engineering department. Since they were all wearing the black t-shirt of the tech fest, it was easy to identify them.”
She added “I also entered through the gate and began walking down the stairs. The concert hadn’t begun at that time. There were few people inside the hall.”
Further, she said “When I was at the bottom of the stairs, a crowd suddenly surged in from outside, maybe due to the sudden rains. I got pushed from behind and became sandwiched between two students to the point where I could not breathe. It was dark as well. I heard someone next to me saying her leg was stuck. I wanted to help her, but I could barely move.”
Eventually concluding with how “I screamed, ‘help, I’m dying.’ I saw my death in front of me and within a few seconds, I passed out.”
The incident happened on November 25th second day of CUSAT’s annual technical festival, Dhishna. It was while students were moving to the open-air auditorium, which as per another report could only seat 1,500 people and had a single gate for entry that the stampede occurred between 6 to 7 pm.
Soon after the gates were opened for entry, a crowd started to form outside including both students and general people and all of them were trying to press for entry inside. However, suddenly the gates were opened for all which ended up resulting in a mad rush of people trying to get inside and ended up pushing many of the students already on the stairs down.
The steep steps had many students falling down and the crowd in a blind haze stepped on the fallen students and eventually trampled some to death and injured many others.
4 students have been reported to have died due to the freak stampede. And now the Kerala Higher Education Minister R Bindu has asked the Principal Secretary of Higher Education and the varsity Vice Chancellor to submit inquiry reports of what happened.
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