Four students died and over 60 were injured on Saturday evening in a stampede that occurred at a university in Kochi, The Hindu reported.
The stampede took place at an auditorium at the Cochin University of Science and Technology, where singer Nikhita Gandhi was slated to perform. Her performance was to be part of the concluding event of a tech festival.
The auditorium was already packed with about a thousand students, according to The Hindu. Hundreds of students had also been waiting outside, and they rushed inside after rain suddenly lashed the area around 7.30 pm. They fell on those who were standing on steps leading to the auditorium below, leading to the stampede.
An unidentified faculty member said that entry to the event was restricted to those with passes, The Times of India reported. “But students and others who didn’t have pass also gathered in the campus premises,” the faculty member said.
Forty-six of the injured students were taken to the Ernakulam Medical College and Hospital, while 15 were admitted to the Kinder Hospital in Kochi.
Kerala Higher Education Minister R Bindu has asked the principal secretary of higher education and the university’s vice-chancellor to submit their inquiry reports into the stampede, ANI reported.
“Proper guidelines are being issued in order to avoid such incidents in future,” she said. “And we will take all precautionary measures. This is a usual practice the university uses to conduct tech fests and university competitions. This is the first time a tragic incident has occurred.”
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the entire state is in shock after the stampede. “P Rajeev, the Minister for Industries, and R Bindu, the Minister of Higher Education, have departed for Ernakulam to assess the situation directly,” he said. “A thorough investigation into the incident will commence without delay.”