Protesters demand state chief’s resignation after bridge collapse in India

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Angry protesters demanded the resignation of chief of India’s western Gujarat state Bhupendrabhai Patel on Tuesday November 01, as they staged a demonstration in New Delhi after at least 135 people were killed in a bridge collapse accident.

The colonial-era suspension bridge over the Machchhu river in Morbi was packed with sightseers – many in town to celebrate the Diwali and Chhath Puja festivals – when it broke on Sunday, October 30 evening, sending people plunging about 10 meters into the water.

Carrying placards, the agitators gathered outside Gujarat Bhawan to protest. They were later whisked away by police in a bus.

“The country is angry today that around 150 people have died in Morbi but this government did nothing apart from shedding crocodile tears,” says a protester.

The search operations entered a third day, although authorities said nearly all those believed to have been missing were now accounted for.

Authorities said they believe that around 200 people were on the bridge when it collapsed.

Meanwhile, Oreva Farms, a farmhouse of Oreva, the Gujarat-based company that had been in charge of maintaining the bridge for 15 years, was shut in Ahmedabad city.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had been touring the state which has elections due by early next year, is visiting the disaster site and Morbi hospital.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party was attacked by opposition parties for what they called an unseemingly fresh paint job for the hospital ahead of the prime minister’s visit.

Local police arrested nine people on Monday, including ticketing clerks and contractors, as they investigate the collapse of the bridge.