Vikash Sharma

A day after one person died and as many as 20 suffered critical injuries in a stampede on the Gopinathpur-Badamba T Bridge in Athagarh, the Cuttack district administration has clamped restrictions on the entry of devotees at Sri Sri Singhanathadev temple.

In anticipation of breach of peace and law and order situation, the Badamba Executive Magistrate has imposed section 144 to prevent public from entering the T-bridge (to the entrance of the temple) as well as in and around the premises of Sri Sri Singhanathadev temple. The restrictions will come into effect from today till January 16, 2023, to maintain law and order situation.

No devotees will be allowed to the shrine and even the shop owners have been asked to vacate the place. The temple officials informed that only rituals will be conducted at the shrine. The Inspector-In-Charge of Badamba has been directed to promulgate the orders in the locality and maintain law and order situation.

It is pertinent to mention here that there was a huge rush on the bridge which connects Singhanatha shrine located in the middle of the Mahanadi River on the occasion of Makar Sankranti on Saturday. Later, due to the rush, a stampede broke out and several devotees sustained injuries.

As ambulances couldn’t reach the spot due to the rush on the bridge, the injured persons were shifted to Badamba hospital on motorcycles. However, one woman from Pathuripada village in Banki succumbed to the injuries. “I only heard that my wife fell and died in the stampede,” said husband of the deceased.

As per the latest updates, all the injured have been discharged from Badamba hospital after necessary treatment.

Northern Range IG Narasingha Bhol said, “There was no problem for the devotees coming from Gopinathpur side as they were exited through an alternative route. The main issue cropped up as those coming from Banki side were returning on the same route. We will review how we can make an alternative route using police force.”

(Reported by Sarbeswar Swain)