Lucknow, Nov 6. (PTI): Eighteen people were reportedly drowned while taking a dip in different rivers in Uttar Pradesh on Kartik Purnima, whereas ten were killed in separate road accidents, officials said here today.
Five women drowned in river Rapti in Bhagwanpur village of Balrampur yesterday whereas in Kanpur's Nawabganj area, two youths drowned in river Ganga after slipping in deep waters, officials said.
Four persons each drowned in Bijnore and Muzaffarnagar districts. One person each from Unnao, Varanasi and Bareilly met a watery grave in rivers Ganga and Ramganga.
All the bodies have been fished out, they said.
In separate road accidents, five persons were killed in Agra, three in Etawah and one each in Rae Bareilli and Pratapgarh districts, they added.
Four dead, 13 injured in Puri stampede
Saturday, November 4, 2006, NDTV (Puri):
At least four people have been killed and 13 seriously injured in a stampede, which took place inside the Jagganath temple in Puri early on Saturday morning.
Thousands of elderly people had gathered inside the temple for darshan on the auspicious occasion of Bada Osha, on the eve of Kartik Purnima.
The stampede was caused when there was a mad rush to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the temple through a narrow stairway.
The state government has ordered a judicial probe into the matter. All of the dead and injured are elderly people.
"I had gone to the temple after my pre-dawn bath for darshan. But I was pushed around and crushed by the raging crowd. I was dragged along some distance," said Nishamani Mohanty, injured devotee.
The temple staff blame VIP visitors. The law secretary himself was present with his family and insiders say the stampede started when the police and temple administration allowed them entry out of turn.
"VIPs were allowed into the temple but the police stopped other devotees. That led to a scuffle and people tried to force their way through the narrow space. That led to the stampede," said Talchhu Mohapatra, Sevayat.
"The tradition is that people will enter through one door and exit through the other three doors. But that did not happen this morning and there was no crowd control system in place," said Ravishankar Pujari, Sevayat.
Normally, Panchuko Darshan attracts thousands of devotees every year and the temple administration as well as the district and police administration hold meetings before hand to chalk out crowd control.
But this year there was no such meeting. Now the state government has announced a judicial probe and says all the issues will be investigated.
"Whether there was a security lapse or whether the police had taken adequate steps or not will be known after the inquiry," said B B Harichandan, Law Minister, Orissa.
The state government has also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh for the dead and free treatment for the injured.
But this is certainly not how the month of fasting by the elderly was supposed to end.
Procession sparks row between temple authorities, devotees
Vadodara, November 5: THE annual marriage procession of Lord Narsinhji held on Kartik Purnima turned controversial on Sunday, as the temple trustees decided to mount the lord’s palanquin on a truck for a particular stretch of the procession in the sensitive Walled City area. While this created a rift between thousands of devotees and the temple authorities on Sunday, with many alleging it was an uncalled-for deviation from a years-old tradition in which the palanquin is carried on foot, the procession, however, went by peacefully.
Devotees expressed shock when Narsinhji temple members declared a change in the 250-year-old tradition, wherein they decided to take the palanquin of Lord Narsinhji atop a truck from Narsinhji ni Pole to Tulsiwadi where the marriage with Goddess Tulsi is held. It even had Wadi BJP MLA Bhupendra Lakhawala making a representation with the temple authorities to reconsider their decision earlier in the day.
With apprehensions of trouble, as the truck procession was scheduled to go across the controversial road between Vitthal Mandir, Mandvi and Tulsiwadi via the Champaner Gate, where the razed dargah of the Sufi saint stands, temple authorities reiterated that there was no connection between this and the decision to use the truck. Mukund Shah, one of the temple trustees, said, ‘‘There are many senior citizens and women who face a tough time in the crowds and some were pushed around last year, so we thought of mounting the palanquin on a truck on the stretch where the crowds are maximum.’’ The temple authorities denied that it was at police bidding that they made the decision.
Till late evening after the procession was flagged off amidst heavy police security, devotees carried the palanquin till Vitthalji temple where the procession was halted for Bhog (dinner). Some of them cited fear of communal disturbance for switching to the truck. When contacted ACP RJ Pargi, said, “There are less chances of any untoward incident in sensitive areas and police has been maintaining tight vigil in those areas.”
Thousands of devotees waiting for the chariot alongside the entire route welcomed the procession with flowers while children participated in the Sobhayatra attired in different get-ups depicting mythological and current Bollywood themes and characters like Gandhigiri and Don.