One killed, 16 injured after vehicle runs into religious procession in Chhattisgarh

Two occupants of the vehicle were later arrested from the outskirts of the town while the vehicle itself was found burning

One person was killed and 16 others were injured when an SUV ran into a religious procession at Pathalgaon in Jashpur district of Chhattisgarh on Friday afternoon, police said.

The incident took place when residents of Bazarpara locality had taken out a procession for the immersion of Goddess Durga idols, an official said.

The deceased man was identified as Gaurav Agrawal (21).

Two occupants of the vehicle, Bablu Vishwakarma (21) and Shishupal Sahu (26), natives of Singrauli in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, were later arrested from the outskirts of the town while the vehicle itself was found burning, he said.

Locals claimed that the two were smuggling ganja and set the SUV on fire themselves to destroy evidence as they were being chased.

Tension prevailed in the town and a large number of people gathered outside the Pathalgaon police station.

Terming the incident as "sad and heart-wrenching", Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said the accused were immediately arrested and action has also been taken against some police officers who were prima facie found at fault.

"An inquiry has been ordered. No one will be spared. Justice will be done to all. May the departed soul rest in peace. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured,” Mr Baghel tweeted in Hindi.

Senior BJP leader and former chief minister Raman Singh demanded a compensation of ₹50 lakh for the kin of the deceased.

Mr Singh tweeted a video of the incident and wrote, “This video is very painful. In Chhattisgarh, the drug mafias have no fear of anyone. Will those taking out religious processions be crushed like this now? Jashpur SP (Superintendent of Police) should be removed immediately. The kin of the deceased should be given Rs 50 lakh compensation and immediate arrangements should be made for the treatment of the injured,” he demanded.

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