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Raj Thackeray Blames Migrants For Mumbai Stampede That Left 22 Dead

Mumbai:  The migrant influx in Mumbai has led to “collapse of infrastructure” in the city, MNS chief Raj Thackeray said, a day after stampede at Elphinstone railway station in Mumbai.

Mr Thackeray claimed that stampedes will continue to occur in Mumbai till hordes of migrants keep pouring into the city. “There has been a collapse of infrastructure facilities due to the migrant influx from other regions,” he said.

The MNS chief also warned that “not a single brick will be allowed to be placed for the bullet train in Mumbai” until the infrastructure of local railways was made better. “Why do we need terrorists or enemies like Pakistan? It seems our own Railway is enough to kill people,” he said.

Yesterday, a stampede on a narrow foot overbridge at the Elphinstone railway station during the rush hour had led to deaths of at least 22 people and injuries to 30. A 43-year-old victim died at the hospital today, taking the total number of dead to 23.

Mr Thackeray claimed that his party had written to to authorities for building a new bridge at the stampede spot but no action was taken on his suggestion. The Kakodkar committee had proposed an expenditure of Rs one lakh crore to improve the railway infrastructure but nobody acted on it, he claimed.

Instead, the government was focussing on the the bullet train project, costing the same amount, he said. “Does one need bullet train or improvement of basic rail infrastructure,” he said.

Mr Thackeray also targeted BJP MP Kirit Somaiya for his silence on the “crumbling” rail services. “When Congress was in power, this man used to go about measuring the height of platforms. Where is he now when such tragedies are happening in the BJP-led regime,” the MNS chief alleged.

He claimed he did not visit the stampede spot or the hospital yesterday as “politicians are there at such spots only for television cameras”.

“A list of issues related to Mumbai locals will be given to railway officials on October 5 with a deadline. If things don’t get better, we will see,” he said.

He said a deadline would also be given to throw out illegal hawkers from station bridges and if it is not complied with then the party would act on its own, he said.

(with inputs from PTI)