At least three people have died and more than 20 were injured after a stampede broke out at a temple near Kolkata last night where devotees had gathered for Janamasthami celebrations.
Huge queues had gathered last night outside the Lokenath Dham Temple at Kachua to celebrate Janmashtami when the boundary wall of a home on the road leading to the temple suddenly collapsed, said an official.
Amid the chaos triggered by the wall collapse, some people reportedly fell into an adjacent pond. Others ran for shelter towards the temple and gathered in the shacks that sell goods outside the gate, which also collapsed.
At least 25 people are admitted in hospitals across Kolkata and North 24 Parganas district with serious injuries.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited the injured today at two hospitals in Kolkata.
"Heavy rain, wall collapse and huge crowds led to this unfortunate tragedy," said Ms Banerjee. "But there are a lot of bamboo and plastic shacks near the temple gate which added to the problem. Any effort to remove them leads to agitations. Devotees tried to shelter under them in the rain. They collapsed. We will have to create a plan and clean up the place," she added.
A compensation of Rs 5 lakh has been announced by the state govermment for the family members of those killed in the stampede. Ms Banerjee also announced compensation of Rs 1 lakh for people seriously injured in the incident.
At the temple, the devotees are back queuing up for Janmashtami darshan but under a pall of gloom and stepped up police presence.
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