Three dead, 20 injured in Bengal temple stampede

Several people were injured after a wall collapsed at Loknath temple in Kolkata
Last Updated 23 August 2019, 13:28 IST

At least three persons died and 20 were injured in a stampede at a temple in the Bashirhat area of West Bengal’s North 24 Paraganas district on the early hours of Friday.

The incident which came to light in the afternoon took place following a huge rush of visitors to the temple on the occasion of the birth anniversary of 18th century Bengali saint Loknath Bramhachari. The death toll is expected to increase.

According to sources in the district police, from the initial death toll of two, it increased to three in the afternoon.

“Last night around 2.15 AM, some pilgrims visiting Baba Loknath Temple, Kachua, Basirhat PD, slipped due to slush caused by heavy rains and wind. Sixteen persons were injured. Police rescued them and took to the Health Camp, Kachua and then to a PHC. Situation was immediately brought under control,” stated a senior district police official.

He also said that that among the injured 10 were shifted to hospitals in Kolkata and three among them later succumbed to their injuries.

“Ten critically injured persons have been brought to Kolkata for better treatment. Three persons have succumbed to injuries and another three are in a very critical condition. Five injured persons are in a hospital under Basirhat Police Station,” the officer said.

Earlier in the day the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that two persons during the incident and 20 were injured. But the death toll later increased to three.

“I have come to know that so far two persons have died. Two others are extremely critical. Now I think swift rescue work is the top priority now and rescue work has already been done. Nine people were brought to the National Medical College and two were brought dead,” said Banerjee. She was to reporters at the National Medical College Hospital in Kolkata.

She also said that there was heavy rain at the time of the incident which caused many visitors to take shelter on small makeshift shops on the side of a narrow road leading to the temple. Banerjee said that on the other side of the narrow road there is a pond and when these makeshift shops collapsed some people fell into the pond during the stampede.

“There was huge crowd at Kachua and the number of visitors were much higher this time. There was heavy rain at that time and hence many tried to take shelter in nearby temporary roadside shops. Some also fell into a roadside pond. A stampede like situation occurred there and since the area was small many were unable to come out. There was a pond on one side and the small shops on the other side,” said Banerjee.

She also announced compensation of Rs. 5 lakh for the families of those who died, Rs. 1 lakh who got critically injured, Rs. 50,000 for those who sustained minor injuries.

(Published 23 August 2019, 06:08 IST)

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