Ranchi : At least 11 people were killed and 50 injured in a stampede at a temple in Jharkhand’s Deoghar town early Monday, police said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “pained at loss of lives”. Over 100,000 people were in a queue, many waiting since Sunday night to get into the famous Baidyanath Temple, when the stampede took place. Deoghar is 300 km from here.
A senior police official said 11 people were killed and 50 people others injured. During ‘Shravan’ month of the Hindu calendar, more than 30 lakh people offer prayers at the Baidyanath temple. On Mondays, the number goes up substantially and around two lakh people offer prayers. Prime Minister Modi condoled the deaths in the stampede. “Pained at loss of lives due to the stampede in Jharkhand. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased in this hour of grief. I pray that the injured recover quickly,” Modi said on Twitter.
“I spoke to Chief Minister Raghubar Das on the incident.” The stampede in Jharkhand took place less than a month after a stampede in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh. At least 27 pilgrims were killed and over 60 injured on July 14 in the stampede at the start of the Godavari ‘Maha Pushkaralu’ — the Kumbh Mela of the south. Deputy Commissioner Amit Kumar said all the injured have been admitted to Sadar hospital in Deoghar for treatment and added the stampede was a result of a “large crowd”. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said: “My heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed in the stampede at Deoghar in Jharkhand. I pray for speedy recovery of the injured.”
He said Chief Minister Das apprised him of the situation in Deoghar and “asked for extra RAF deployment”. The minister said one extra Rapid Action Force (RAF) battalion will be sent to Deoghar for “better crowd and security management”. The Jharkhand government has announced a compensation of Rs.2 lakh each to the kin of victims and Rs.50,000 to injured, an official said. Raghubar Das has ordered a high level probe into the incident. “The government would initiate action against officials found responsible for the incident,” Das told the media in Ranchi. Leader of opposition Hemant Soren blamed mismanagement by local authorities for the incident.