New Delhi - Survivors of a stampede outside a temple in central India alleged that men in police uniform robbed them and flung people off a bridge, news reports said on Tuesday.
A female survivor interviewed by the NDTV news channel from her hospital bed after Sunday's stampede in Madhya Pradesh state, which killed 115 people, said that as people were trying to escape the crush on the bridge, some men in uniform snatched her earrings, necklace and anklets.
Another woman also being treated in hospital said, "I was pushed off the bridge by some men in police uniform... I was saved because my sari got stuck on the bridge, breaking my fall."
"These men in uniform pushed many people off the bridge, even children," the woman added. "... I saw it."
The stampede, which injured more than 100 people, was sparked by rumours that a river bridge leading to the Ratangarh temple in the Datia district was about to collapse.
"The judicial inquiry will reveal whether the allegations made by the survivors are false," Deputy Inspector General of Police DK Arya said by telephone from the state capital, Bhopal.
The state government has suspended 21 local officials, including the police chief, his deputy and the administrative head of the Datia district.
"They have been suspended for lack of supervision" and not carrying out their duties properly, Arya said.
The Madhya Pradesh government has ordered an investigation by a commission headed by a retired high court judge. The commission has been asked to submit its report within two months.
"I would urge people to wait for the facts to emerge on completion of the inquiry and not to jump to conclusions based on rumours," Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan said on Twitter.